Houston Chronicle


- By Bobby Wolff

The European Open Championsh­ips at Montecatin­i Terme, Italy, in June last year featured a week of mixed pairs and teams events. Because it is an open tournament, players come from all around the world, and squads or partnershi­ps can consist of mixed nationalit­ies. David Berkowitz of the U.S. was playing with his wife, Lisa, and teammates Jan and Aida Jansma from the Netherland­s, and David was full of praise for his teammates’ effort on defense here. Both rooms played four hearts, and both defenders in the West seat led their singleton club, but Lisa Berkowitz brought home 10 tricks easily enough in the closed room. Here is what happened at our featured table, though. Declarer won the club lead in hand, took diamond ace and then ruffed a diamond, East giving count in the process. Declarer next led the heart queen, and Aida ducked this to Jan, who put the spade king on the table! Declarer was forced to try to cash two spades immediatel­y to pitch his club loser. Next, he led a third spade from dummy, and East took the opportunit­y to ruff high as declarer discarded a club. But that let East give her partner the club ruff to set the hand. Note that if East covers the first trump, this defense will not work. Similarly, if West shifts to a diamond or a low spade when in with the heart ace, declarer can win in hand and lead a second trump, preventing the defenders from taking their trumps separately.

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