Main     Column 7E25 by Richard Pavlicek    

Squeezed and Endplayed

To set the stage for the upcoming Southeastern Regional, let’s turn back the calendar. Today’s deal was played at last year’s tournament by Minerva Davis of Hollywood. As South, she had to read the enemy distribution accurately to bring home an ambitious slam contract.

The bidding deserves an explanation. South’s two-club opening was strong and artificial (a popular treatment used in conjunction with weak two-bids) and the two-notrump rebid showed 23-24 points. North’s four-club bid was Gerber (ace asking), and South’s four diamonds showed zero or four aces (obviously four). West doubled to show strength in diamonds, and North closed out the bidding in six notrump.

6 NT S Q 9 5
H K Q 6 5 4
D 9 6
C K 9 3
Both Vul

West

Pass
Pass
Dbl


North
Pass
2 H
4 C
6 NT


East
Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass


South
2 C
2 NT
4 D
S 10 8 4 2
H 3
D K J 10 2
C 10 5 4 2
Table S J 6
H J 10 9 8 2
D 8 7 3
C 8 7 6
Lead: S 2 S A K 7 3
H A 7
D A Q 5 4
C A Q J

West led the two of spades and declarer played low from dummy, capturing East’s jack with the king. The ace and king of hearts revealed the bad news as West pitched a diamond.

Things did not look good at this point, but there was hope. West’s lead was likely to be from a four-card suit including the 10, so Davis returned to her hand with a club and led a spade to the nine. The spade queen and heart queen were cashed (West pitching a spade) and the South hand was entered with the club ace.

The spade ace was cashed and West was squeezed out of his long club. (If West instead pitched a diamond honor, declarer could duck a diamond immediately to establish her 12th trick.) Minerva then crossed to the club king and led a diamond. The finesse was sure to fail after West’s double, so she ducked the trick. West was endplayed, forced to lead a diamond into declarer’s ace-queen.

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© 5-15-1983 Richard Pavlicek