12th World Bridge Championships Page 2 Bulletin 14 - Friday 23 June  2006

Birthday Hand

By Matthew Granovetter

Wednesday was my wife's secular birthday (according to the solar calendar, though we celebrate according to the lunar calendar in the Jewish tradition). But in honor of the solar birthday, I thought I'd show her favorite hand from the world championships here in Verona, which occurred during the Mixed Pairs. Pamela was East, playing with Bob Hamman.

Board 13. Dealer North. All Vul.
 ♠ A 5 3
10 3 2
♣ A K Q 5 4

♠ J 8 7 6 4 2
7 6 5 2
J 9
♣ 2
Bridge deal
♠ K Q 9
A K Q 8 7 5
♣ J 8 3
 ♠ 10
K J 10 8 4 3
6 4
♣ 10 9 7 6

All Pass    

Opening lead: ♠10.

When Pamela picked up the East cards, she was having an unlucky game and felt she had to do something pushy to get a good score and change the momentum. So over 2NT she bid 3 (rather than pass and hope the opponents play in 2NT or 3NT). This worked well for a strange reason. South doubled to say East took her bid a transfer to 3. North, however, saw three losing diamonds in his hand and a doubleton heart (albeit a good doubleton) and decided to convert the double not his best move on this deal.

South led her singleton spade, and Pamela dropped the queen under the ace. North switched confidently to a trump. Oops. Pamela took 11 tricks for a cold top.

North had put all his eggs in one basket, playing declarer for K-Q doubleton of spades. Instead, North should have led the A at trick two, and his partner should tell him whether to go back to spades.

South discourages in hearts and North now knows that his partner started with a singleton spade. (This is an old rubber-bridge signal for trick two and still works very well.) Then it goes spade ruff, club to the queen, spade ruff. This defeats the contract by one trick.

Down one would still be a good score for East/West, since most North/South pairs scored 650 in 4. Yes, 4♠ can be made by West, but that's a tough contract to reach.

Bridge Today Daily, a daily e-mail column, can be purchased by subscription through the Granovetters here at the tournament or on the Internet at Bridgetoday.com.

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