Allez France by Jose Le Dentu

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1978: Jean-Marc Roudinesco, who has won the European team championship twice (1.966 and 1970), has always been an imaginative player.

Jose Le Dentu
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Jean-Marc Roudinesco

Jean-Marc Roudinesco

V World Pair Olimpyad. June 24 1978 (Source: www.ecatsbridge.com)

Jean-Marc Roudinesco, who has won the European team championship twice (1.966 and 1970), has always been an imaginative player. In his youngest days, he was known as “Le Petit Genie” (the Small Genius) because of his shining and original plays.

He lived up to his reputation in the first session of the Open Pairs final when he found the killing lead against Christian Mari, who is still reeling from Roudi’s blow!

Roudinesco   Perron    Stoppa      Mari

Sur                  Oeste      Norte         Este

Pass                 Pass        1             3NT

4                   Pass         Pass          4NT

All Pass

You are South. After this auction, what card do you lead:

 Q J 6  A  4 2  J 10 9 7 5 3 2

Christian Mari

Christian Mari

Mari is known as a very steady player, so it occurred to Roudinesco that Mari had bid 4 NT on the assumption that he could make 10 tricks on a spade lead.

So Roudi tried to visualize declarer’s hand: a spade stopper (king or ace), at leats, six or seven solid diamonds and two high clubs. So where was the only hope? Hearts!!

Certainly Stoppa had opened in third seat with five or six spades, an honor in clubs and most likely a second suit that logically should be hearts.

So Roudi led his singleton A.

All Mari could do was congratulate him at the end of the play because this was the layout:

allez france

After the lead of the A, Roudinesco switched to the Q, and Stoppa took the ace and two hearts to set the 4NT contract one. Declarer would have made 11 tricks on any other lead because the A blocks the suit.

As a matter of fact, 12 declarers made at least 10 tricks, at notrump. Roudi’s spectacular opening lead gained his aide 18 matchpoints.

 

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