Responding to the invitation by Bobby Wolff
The Spokesman-Review – Feb 6, 2003
Today’s deal features excellent bidding and defense.
Let us start with the bidding by Kuo and Huang, as shown in today’s diagram. Versace’s double of three spades allowed Kuo to show real diamond support; without it, he would have passed the double. When Huang cue-bid five clubs, denying a spade control, it was suggesting to Kuo that he bid six diamonds if he had spade shortage.
Kuo decided that with no top diamond honor and a minimum hand, he could reject the invitation, and right he was. When diamonds did not split, a total of 11 tricks was the limit.
Huang played to ruff two spades in dummy and threw one spade on dummy’s top hearts, making 11 tricks easily enough. Elsewhere, Mark Bompis of France as South played in three no-trump, despite the fact that both his opponents had bid spades.
You will note that if West leads a spade to East’s queen and gets a spade return, declarer may not get a spade trick —but he will make his contract by setting up the diamonds, since East has no entry.
However, Branco led the A and followed up with the 10, and Chagas ducked this!
Now Bompis had his spade trick, but the defense had three spade winners waiting in the wings, so Bompis could no longer give up a diamond trick without allowing the defense in to take their winners. He cashed the top diamonds, and when they failed to behave, he tried the heart finesse and went two down.
Now lets revisit the same deal (rotated 180 degrees). Here is the element of good declarer play. The key of the auction was the level to which East raised spades. Geir Helgemo’s hyperagressive raise to three spades robbed his opponents of a critical round of bidding and led to Christian Marie declaring a delicate four heart game.
Tor Helness led the K and when it held he correctly switched to a club. Mari won dummy’s A and ruffed a spade. Then he cashed his K and ruffed a club, ruffed another spade, led to dummy’s diamond ace, played a fourth spade (overruffing Helgemo’s 8 with the J), and then cashed a top heart.
At this point Mari had taken eight tricks and still had the K doubleton in hand, while Helness had three trumps to the queen left. When Mari led a diamond from hand, he forced Helness to ruff the trick. Now if Helness led a trump, Mari would win and play a second diamond to take trick 13 with his remaining heart, whereas if Helness led a spade, Mari would score up his small trump as once.
Very nicely played— but have you noticed that there WAS a defense to beat the contract? Helgemo should overtake the spade lead at trick one and play a trump. If he does that, declarer cannot find a way home, since there is no club ruff in dummy.
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