Business Day - - The Bottom Line - Steve Becker

North East South West

Pass Pass 1 NT Pass 3 NT

Open­ing lead — jack of spades.

. This deal oc­curred in the 1984 World Team Olympiad in the qual­i­fy­ing-round match be­tween the two teams that for the pre­vi­ous quar­ter cen­tury had dom­i­nated bridge: the US and Italy.

On this oc­ca­sion, the Amer­i­cans eas­ily won the 20-deal en­counter, with the hand shown con­tribut­ing sig­nif­i­cantly to the vic­tory.

When Bobby Wolff of the US was de­clarer at three notrump, he won the spade lead with the king and led a heart to the queen.

East won and re­turned a spade to West’s ace, and a third spade was taken by dummy’s queen.

Wolff now crossed to the heart ace and led the di­a­mond queen, cov­ered by the king and ace. The jack of hearts was then cashed, pro­duc­ing this po­si­tion: NORTH SOUTH J87


Next came the nine of hearts, East and South each dis­card­ing a club while poor West found him­self in dire straits. If he parted with a di­a­mond or a club, South would score the gamego­ing trick in which­ever suit West dis­carded. And if he let go of a spade, de­clarer could af­ford to lose a di­a­mond to the ten to guar­an­tee the con­tract.

In prac­tice, West dis­carded a di­a­mond, where­upon Wolff cashed the di­a­mond jack and fin­ished with 10 tricks in all.

At the other ta­ble, the play to the first six tricks was iden­ti­cal. But after the Q-K-A of di­a­monds, the Ital­ian de­clarer did not cash his hearts. In­stead he elected to fi­nesse the nine of di­a­monds, and when West won and cashed his spades, South was down one to give the US a 480-point gain on the deal.

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