ACES ON BRIDGE

The Sacramento Bee - - Explore - By Bobby Wolff

Italy’s An­drea Manno had to em­u­late Her­cule Poirot to suc­ceed in his slam at the 2014 Cavendish, held in Monte Carlo.

Manno ended in slam af­ter East had opened one di­a­mond, guar­an­tee­ing an un­bal­anced hand, since he would have opened one club with a balanced hand. West selected the club four as his open­ing lead — a ine choice, since on a di­a­mond lead, de­clarer will take 12 tricks without break­ing a sweat. He can set up spades to pitch his club losers, even if he loses a spade trick.

On the club lead, Manno rose with dummy’s ace and took due no­tice of East’s 10. De­clarer cashed the spade ace next, then set about draw­ing trumps. When East showed up with four hearts, that meant that he surely held at least nine cards in the red suits. The club 10 at trick one sug­gested a dou­ble­ton; it could not be a sin­gle­ton, since in that case West would have led the king from the king-queen. And if East had three clubs, East must also have a sin­gle­ton spade, in which case the con­tract could not be made, since there would be no en­try to dummy’s long spade.

This al­lowed Manno to de­duce East’s 2 4 5 2 shape, and he also knew East had a max­i­mum of 9 points in the mi­nors. To have enough ma­te­rial for even the slight­est of open­ing bids, East surely had to hold the spade queen. So Manno cashed the spade king, and down came the queen.

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