Fi­nancier Nick Nick­ell’s teams have long been a fac­tor in world and na­tional events. At the ACBL Spring NABC, NICK­ELL (Ralph Katz,

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Frank Ste­wart

Robert Levin-Steve We­in­stein, Jeff Meck­stroth-Eric Rod­well) took the Van­der­bilt Teams.

In the fi­nal against Richard SCHWARTZ, NICK­ELL led at the half, but the last deal of the third quar­ter ap­peared to give SCHWARTZ a chance to draw close. SCHWARTZ’s North-South pair reached four hearts, while Rod­well-Meck­stroth wan­dered into 3NT.

Against four hearts, West led a club. De­clarer dis­carded a di­a­mond from dummy, and East took the ace and shifted to a di­a­mond. De­clarer put up the queen, and West played low. South next ruffed a club in dummy and con­tin­ued with the king and a low trump: ten from East, ace, spade from West.

At that point, South could have cashed the king of clubs, taken the top spades, ruffed a spade and ruffed his last club in dummy. Hav­ing won nine tricks, he could lead an­other spade from dummy and score his nine of trumps what­ever East did. In­stead, de­clarer took his king of clubs, pitch­ing an­other di­a­mond from dummy, and led a high di­a­mond. West won and led a third di­a­mond, and South was doomed to lose two more tricks.

At the other ta­ble, Meck­stroth’s 3NT looked hope­less after West led a low club. East took the ace and re­turned a club: eight, nine. But then West shifted in­ex­pli­ca­bly to the queen of spades, and Meck­stroth man­aged to make his game. In­stead of los­ing a ma­jor swing, NICK­ELL gained one. They went on to win the ti­tle by a mile.

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