Edmonton Journal

THE ACES ON BRIDGE

- by Bobby Wolff

“Valiant in velvet, light in ragged luck, Most vain, most generous, sternly critical, Buffon and poet, lover and sensualist.” -- W.E. Henley .....................

The saying “It is better to be lucky than good” was never better exemplifie­d than on this hand from the very first of the qualifying rounds of the Marlboro Bermuda Bowl in Beijing.

Most tables that did not have a weak two in diamonds in their armory took advantage of the vulnerabil­ity to open the North hand with a three-level pre-empt. The sensible Souths opted to put their partner into five diamonds, which made in some comfort. The foolish Souths tried to make three no-trump, and were sunk on a heart lead.

But the strangest result came when Leon Boolkin for South Africa opened a weak two in diamonds. His partner asked for more informatio­n, and Boolkin thought by his rebid that he was showing a six-card suit to two of the top three honors. However, his partner believed that he was facing a solid suit, hence the jump to slam.

West now decided that against a slam he should look for a passive lead, and determined that a club would be safest. Bernard Donde, having had his first reprieve, noted that he needed to find the club queen doubleton to have any chance of reaching the diamond suit in dummy, and therefore he had no real option in clubs. He played low from dummy at trick one, and a few seconds later the friendly layout of the minor suits allowed him to collect plus 990. Meanwhile, his teammates were collecting plus 50 from three no-trump after a heart lead.

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