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Hand of the Season

January, 1972 — Central Florida Trumpet

The North hand looked so good to Al Bricklin as the auction progressed that he was unable to stop short of an optimistic slam. He also had going for him the confidence that his partner, Richard Pavlicek, would bring home the bacon if it were at all possible — and that’s exactly what he did.

Pavlicek and Bricklin were playing in the Vanderbilt with two other members of the Central Florida Unit, Bob Rothlein and Armand Barfus. Pavlicek lives in Fort Lauderdale.

Watch his delicate performance.

6 C by South

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

West

3 H
Pass
North

4 H
6 C
East

Pass
All Pass
South
Pass
5 C

West’s lead of the ace of hearts was unfortunate but reasonable. After ruffing in dummy, Pavlicek cashed the ace of clubs, the ace of spades, and ruffed a spade in his hand, noting with considerable interest the fall of West’s queen. If the king were dropping next, he was home free, but he prepared for the far more likely case (in light of West’s preempt) that it was a doubleton.

He next ruffed a low heart, the importance of which we’ll see shortly, cashed the king of trumps, and ruffed another spade with his last trump. Now he cashed the king of hearts, discarding a spade from dummy, and when East showed out he had a complete count of the hand.

West had started with seven hearts, two spades and two clubs, so he had exactly two diamonds. This made the diamond finesse unnecessary, since the queen must drop if West had it. Here is the end position with South to lead:

S 10
H
D A K J
C 7
S
H Q J 6
D 9 7
C
TableS K 9
H
D Q 10 8
C
S
H 9
D 6 5 4 2
C

Pavlicek led the nine of hearts, ruffing in dummy, and East was in trouble. If he threw a diamond, dummy’s diamonds would be good (and declarer would know it) so he threw the nine of spades. No matter. The 10 of spades from dummy now saddled East to lead into dummy’s diamond tenace, and the slam was made.

South at the other table went down two tricks in the same contract, so the Florida team gained 17 IMPs.

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© 1972 Central Florida Trumpet