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The Metz Grand

This month’s deal was played by Ed Metz about 10 years ago. Metz, though not an expert, was an experienced player and usually a winner, especially when it came to making bold slam bids. As South he reached a mere 7 NT on the auction shown.

7 NT by South

N-S Vul
S 4 3
H K Q J 10 9 7
D Q J 10
C A 2
S J 7 5
H 8 6 5
D K 5 4 3
C Q 8 5
TableS Q 9 8 6
H 4 3
D 9 7 6 2
C 10 9 3
Lead: D 3S A K 10 2
H A 2
D A 8
C K J 7 6 4

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
North
1 H
2 H
4 H
5 D
6 D
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
2 C
2 S
4 NT
5 NT
7 NT

It is apparent that 7 H is a better contract because the club suit can be established with a ruff; but that would be too easy, and the Metz flair would be wasted. It is also apparent that 7 NT is impossible — declarer has 11 top tricks and both minor-suit finesses are destined to lose. Nonetheless, as baseball great Yogi Berra would say, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

West was a suspicious soul. He had seen Metz steal too many slams off the first two tricks, so he led a diamond. This converted 11 tricks into 12; and where there’s 12, Metz could usually eke out 13. He won the D Q and rapidly cashed the S A-K and both minor aces before running the hearts. On the last heart East let go a club to keep the S Q, South discarded his now useless S 10, and West had to discard a club to keep the D K. Finally, a club to the king brought down the queen — and almost the ceiling — as Metz romped home.

As he left the table, Metz could be heard explaining all the intricacies of the “double squeeze and Vienna coup” to his partner.

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© 1996 Richard Pavlicek