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Double Trouble

Board-a-match play held to be the game’s most exciting

December, 1977 — New York Times

Many experts feel that the most exciting form of the game is board-a-match teams, which has been abandoned on all but a few occasions. The bidding and play of every deal is totally tense, with none of the relaxation possible in other forms of team play or in rubber bridge when the contract is assured.

Big risks must be taken, as in the diagrammed deal from the Reisinger team championship in San Francisco. Sitting North and South were Bill Root of Boca Raton, Fla., and Richard Pavlicek of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and they were doubled in three clubs. East would not have doubled at other forms of scoring, but he was willing to take the risk to score 200.

3 C× by South

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

West

1 H
Pass
North

Pass
3 C
East

2 H
Dbl
South
1 C
Pass
All Pass

West led a trump, judging that his partner held strong trumps, and that it would help to limit the declarer’s ruffs. East ducked, and Pavlicek won the eight in the closed hand. A diamond finesse lost to the queen, and East shifted to the heart ten.

West won and decided that it was time to attack spades. He tried the ten, which was covered around the table with the jack-queen-ace.

Pavlicek cashed two heart winners, throwing spades from dummy. He then took another diamond finesse, this one successful. The diamond ace was ruffed and overruffed. A spade ruff and a diamond ruff left South on lead in this position:

S
H
D J
C 9 6
S K
H 8 6
D
C
TableS
H 9
D
C A Q
S 9 5
H
D
C K

I might seem that declarer was doomed to a one-trick defeat and the loss of the board. But Pavlicek led a spade and discarded dummy’s diamond. Whatever East did, he could not prevent declarer from scoring a trump trick to make his contract.

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© 1977 Alan Truscott