Goren on Bridge
Today’s deal features another one of the USA’s great players. Chip Martel, from the San Francisco area, was South. As often happens in modern tournament bridge, two minimum hands, bidding aggressively, end up in a final contract that is too high for their combined assets. Sometimes, however, there is a way to bring it home.
Martel held up on the jack of spades at trick one, as well as the king of spades continuation. East was able to continue, intelligently, with his low spade, knowing that his partner held the 10. He knew his partner had three spades from the lead. Had West started with the nine-eight- four of spades, he would have played the nine on the second round. When he followed with the eight, East knew that he held the 10.
Martel won the third spade and had to decide whether to go after hearts or diamonds. He chose hearts and was rewarded when that suit split 3-3. On the run of the hearts, East could only afford one club discard, so he had to part with the eight of diamonds. After the hearts were finished, Martel led a club to his queen, winning the trick. He next led a diamond to dummy’s king. This lost to East’s ace, but the best East could do was to cash his queen of spades before leading a club. Martel repeated the club finesse and had nine tricks. Nicely played!
North-South vulnerable, North deals