Import 9F04   Main

Second Hand Low Sometimes

  by Charles Goren

September, 1973 — Goren on Bridge (syndicated column)

A field of some 1,500 teams from across the length and breadth of North America entered the Grand National Team Championship, eventually won by the Florida team of William Seamon, Russ Arnold, Robert Sharp, Jane Jaeger, Richard Pavlicek and Jim Beery. Their victory earned them a berth in the playoff to determine North America’s representative in next year’s World Team Championship.

This deal came up in their semifinal match against the New England team. North’s opening bid is a trifle weak, but he did not want to pass a fair hand with a six-card major suit. Thereafter, nothing could keep South, who had a full opening bid, out of game.

Indeed, South would have made his ambitious three notrump contract had not West, Richard Pavlicek, made a superb defensive play.

3 NT SouthS K 10 5
H Q 10 9 7 5 4
C A J 3 2
None VulWest

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

Lead: C K
S A J 6
H 8 2
D A K J 6 5
C 10 8 6

The opening lead was won by dummy’s ace, and declarer was faced with a communications problem. Since he did not want to cross to his hand with the ace of spades, he elected to lead a low heart from the table. East won the jack and returned a club, South playing the ten, and West winning the queen. West continued with the nine of clubs to dummy’s jack. Another heart was led to East’s king, and he exited with a diamond, won by the king.

Declarer next led a low spade, planning to finesse the ten. He would then force out the ace of hearts, and that would set up three heart tricks while the king of spades was still in dummy to serve as an entry.

Unfortunately for the best-laid plans, Pavlicek was well aware of the situation. Instead of routinely playing second-hand-low, he inserted the queen, and declarer was a gone goose. He could win in dummy and establish the hearts, but there was no way to get back to dummy to enjoy them. Even with the diamond queen dropping on the second round, declarer could win only eight tricks.

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© 1973 Charles Goren