The scene was the 1984 Fall North American Championships, held last November in San Diego, and the event was the Reisinger Team Championship the premier event of the tournament. Todays deal became an amusing topic of discussion when it occurred in a semifinal match.
The bidding is shown as it occurred at one table. Souths two-club opening was strong and artificial (the popular method of players who use weak two-bids in the other three suits) and Norths two-diamond response was negative (less than 8 points). After that the bidding was natural, South showing a long spade suit and North a heart suit.
Against four spades West chose a club lead. Declarer happily accepted the free finesse as dummys jack was covered by the queen and king. But this was declarers last happy moment. Try as he might, he could win only nine tricks. West stubbornly held on to his club length (preventing dummys fourth club from being high) and the contract was defeated.
At the other table declarer did not receive such a friendly lead. West led a heart to Easts king and East returned a trump, effectively preventing declarer from reaching dummy to take a finesse. After drawing trumps, declarer in desperation cashed the top clubs.
Bingo! With the queen falling, dummys jack and 10 were left unmolested to provide declarers ninth and 10th tricks.
And so it was. The declarer who received a favorable lead was defeated; and the declarer who received no help from the opponents made his contract.
Could there be a lesson here?
© 1985 Richard Pavlicek