ACES ON BRIDGE

The State - - Comics - By Bobby Wolff

Italy de­feated the USA1 team by a mere 18 IMPs in the fi­nal of the 2005 Ber­muda Bowl in Es­to­ril, Por­tu­gal.

This deal was the sec­ond board of the fi­nal, but it was a dec­la­ra­tion of in­tent. Jeff Meck­stroth and Eric Rod­well bid to the nor­mal three no-trump, a con­tract which could tech­ni­cally be de­feated only on a spade lead. A di­a­mond might have done the job as well. Lorenzo Lau­ria duly fished out a spade, play­ing through dummy’s sec­ond suit. A top heart was surely an al­ter­na­tive, but with Rod­well’s hav­ing an­nounced length there, likely at least five af­ter his fourth-suit-forc­ing call, that was less at­trac­tive.

That was by no means the end of the hand, though. Al­fredo Ver­sace still had to read his part­ner’s spade-spot and shift to hearts. With dummy’s di­a­monds ready to run, Ver­sace cor­rectly en­tered cash-out mode and, rea­son­ing that his side would have to run the hearts, he rose with the spade ace and plonked the heart jack on the ta­ble, scoop­ing up four heart tricks when Lau­ria turned up with A-K-10-8. It might have been right to put the spade jack in at trick one. Part­ner could hold the spade king and heart ace-queen, but per­haps a spade lead from an honor would have been less at­trac­tive, and there­fore less likely.

In the other room, the Amer­i­can West led the spade two to trick one, and the con­tract made when East put in the spade jack.

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