ACES ON BRIDGE
It is always hard to retain concentration when it comes to the very final deal of a match where you are eager to rush out and score up. However, Ulf Nilsson, playing with Drew Cannell in the Spingold last summer, provided this deal, the last board in the Eric Leong team’s upset win over the Rose Meltzer squad. Nilsson worked out the percentages, but decided to follow his own path.
In the auction shown, Cannell’s fourclub call was a serious slam try (he had already limited his hand to 13 HCP, so he had a maximum with great controls). That let Nilsson drive to slam.
He won the club lead, ruffed a club, drew trumps in one round, ruffed a club and led a second trump.
West discarded a spade, and East a diamond.
Then came the third club ruff, at which point Nilsson found they were 4-4.
When he led the diamond jack toward dummy’s king, West played a high spot card to suggest an odd number in that suit.
At this point, after cashing the diamond ace, the percentage play in spades in abstract is to lead to the queen and back to the 10. But Nilsson could sensibly reconstruct the West hand to be 5=1=3=4.
If East had only two spades, Nilsson could ignore the percentages and play the spade ace and another spade. He could put up the queen, not caring whether it would win or lose, since East would be endplayed if he won.
At the other table, declarer followed the 75 percent line in spades and went down.
ANSWER: I would not double one spade, despite having decent values and the unbid major, since the risk partner will bid diamonds is too high. If the club opening were short, I’d think more about the possibility — but even so, I believe a pass is more discreet.
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