Main     Import 9F06 by Robert M. Woodworth    

Duck Dooms Declarer

November, 1972 — St. Petersburg Times

Technical knowledge is insufficient for good results if a bridge player wastes his time woolgathering during the play. During the occasional pauses in the action, a defender should anticipate alternative plays declarer may select, and be prepared to make the best countermove without hesitation that would reveal his holding.

When the diagrammed deal was played last month in the Sarasota Championships, almost all North-South pairs quickly tallied their combined assets of 33 high-card points and bid six notrump.

6 NT by South

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

West

Pass
North

6 NT
East

All Pass
South
1 NT

At one table, the South cards were held by Jim Beery of Fort Lauderdale, who received the lead of the spade 10, won by the jack in dummy. Declarer could count 10 tricks, and an 11th would often accrue in the heart suit, but a 12th was available only in clubs, which might require a correct guess. Accordingly, declarer led the club jack, covered by the queen, king and ace. West returned another spade, won by the king, followed by four diamonds to reach this ending with the lead in dummy:

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

Declarer led the space ace, pitching a club from hand. West was helplessly squeezed and chose to discard the club eight. Declarer next won the club 10, and the fall of the nine made the club seven high to assure the contract.

When the deal was played at another table, the West cards were held by Richard Pavlicek, also of Fort Lauderdale, who is rapidly gaining the reputation as one of Florida’s top players. Pavlicek, an advocate of the Precision Club system, has won more than 450 masterpoints this year (some in partnership with Jim Beery) which places him among the leaders for national ranking in 1972.

Foresight

Pavlicek also led the spade 10 against six notrump, won in dummy. Declarer considered his options and soon found the same play of the club jack, covered by the queen and king — but here the play took a different turn, as Pavlicek followed smoothly with the three. Declarer could now count 11 tricks, and had to decide whether to play for a fourth heart trick or for East to hold the club ace. Having received no clue, declarer cashed four diamonds ending in dummy and led a club to his 10. West was now able to win three clubs, defeating the slam two tricks.

While declarer planned the play, Pavlicek had planned his defense. The ominous club spots and the danger of being squeezed formulated his scheme, which he was able to carry out without any tell-tale hesitation that would have revealed the layout.

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© 1972 Robert M. Woodworth