When Susan Sternberg of Lauderhill began playing bridge just six years ago, she could hardly imagine herself as a future national champion. Nonetheless, this rags-to-riches journey culminated last month as Susan won the Master Mixed Teams at the Summer North American Championships in Washington, D.C. Her teammates were Bernie Chazen, Allan Cokin (both from Broward County), Juanita Skelton, and Steve and Barbara Sion.
This event employs board-a-match scoring, which means that every trick of every hand is important. If your contract is assured, you cannot relax overtricks are worth their weight in gold. Susan demonstrated this fact with her play of todays deal, which gained a win for her team.
Wests opening bid was a weak two-bid (strong twos are obsolete) and a competitive auction ensued. Norths removal of Souths double to three spades showed a stopper (with only North-South vulnerable it was likely that more points could be scored by bidding game than by defending) and South signed off in three notrump. West led the heart four to Easts ace (the eight would have been a better play) and the heart jack was returned to Souths king. Eleven tricks were certain (assuming the spade finesse), but that wasnt enough. Declarer finessed the spade queen, cashed the spade ace, and then produced a barrage of clubs.
Both opponents had problems in discarding. West had to keep a spade winner to protect Norths three and East had to keep a heart winner to protect Souths seven; neither was able to protect diamonds, so dummys ace-jack won the last two tricks. (Play it out to verify the defense was helpless.)
This perfectly executed double squeeze gave Susan 12 tricks one more than was won at the other table.
© 1984 Richard Pavlicek