Import 9F03   Main

Winning at the Wire

  by Sue Emery

August, 1973 — Contract Bridge Bulletin

For Richard Pavlicek of Fort Lauderdale FL, bridge is his business. Besides teaching and playing, he enjoys creating double-dummy problems and other bridge puzzles. His non-bridge hobbies include pocket billiards, bowling, playing the organ, Scrabble, chess and backgammon.

The inaugural Grand National Team Championship, completed last month in Washington D.C., was Pavlicek’s first national victory. The Florida team had several close encounters, and their quarterfinal match against Washington went right down to the wire.

On the very last board, Pavlicek and his partner Jim Beery reached a slam on these cards:

6 D SouthS A 9 5 4
H 3
D A Q 6 2
C K J 8 7
Both VulWest


1 S
3 NT
5 D

1 H
2 D
4 H
6 D
S K 10 7 2
H 10 5 2
D 9 5
C Q 9 6 4
Table S Q 8 6 3
H Q J 8
D K 4 3
C 10 5 3

Lead: C 4
H A K 9 7 6 4
D J 10 8 7
C A 2

Pavlicek, South, chose to show his meager diamond suit rather than rebid hearts, because “it’s a good opening in our system, and I wanted to keep more options open.” Over three notrump, he continued with four hearts to complete the description. When Beery corrected to five diamonds, he continued on to six. “I liked my good controls and diamond spots, and Jim rated to have good trumps… or maybe it was just a wing and a prayer.”

Pavlicek won the opening club lead with dummy’s king to preserve his entries to establish the heart suit. Then he led to the heart ace and ruffed a heart. He could afford a trump loser, so he led the diamond queen from dummy, rather than waste an entry for a finesse that didn’t rate to help. East won with the king and returned a club to the ace.

When he next led the diamond jack, he was happy to see trumps were 3-2, so he was able to ruff another heart with the diamond ace in case hearts were 4-2. A club ruff back to hand allowed the last trump to be drawn, and a claim.

Bidding and making the slam was crucial, as the Florida team gained 13 IMPs to win the match by 2. What a finish!

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© 1973 Sue Emery