THE International Bridge Press Association announced its annual awards last week. The declarer play of the year went to Steve Weinstein (US) for his performance on deal one, from this year’s Cavendish Invitational in Las Vegas, reported by Phillip Alder (US). It features Weinstein engaging in a poker-like joust with Brad Moss, who was sitting East.
West led the six of hearts, Weinstein letting Moss hold the trick with his queen. Moss shifted to the diamond eight, which ran to dummy’s 10. Weinstein had his contract for sure, so long as he made five tricks from spades. He therefore led the queen of spades from dummy.
Just about every East will take the king without seeing an alternative, but that is the end of declarer’s problems. He has his five spade tricks and his contract.
But Moss did not take his king of spades; he smoothly played the nine.
Weinstein had to guess who had the king. He returned to hand with the ace of diamonds and played his last spade. If he guessed to finesse the jack he would have gone four down, but he correctly divined to rise with the ace and drop Moss’s king.
The best bid hand of the year went to English twins Stuart and Gerald Tredinnick, reported by Heather Dhondy (England). What is it about England and twins? One of their best pairs right now is twins, Jason and Justin Hackett, and in the 1960s it was the Sharples twins, also English, who led the world in bidding. West 2 all pass North 2 East pass South 3NT
One no-trump was 14-16 high card points. Gerald’s three-club bid was natural and forcing, implying four hearts, and when he bid four hearts, that was also natural, stressing the quality of the suit.
He followed this up with 5NT, asking Stuart to pick a slam, and six hearts was chosen.
This really is a good-quality slam, giving the option of establishing clubs by taking ruffs in the hand with short trumps, and he didn’t really want the clubs to be 3-3, since that meant other inferior slams such as six clubs or 6NT would also be making.
However, since slam was missed at the other table, they gained 10 useful international match points anyway. Paul Marston