The Angel Coup by Jose Le Dentu
On 2 October, 2014 At 20:07
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6th World Bridge Championships 1982, Biarritz
An endplay cannot happen unless an opponent can throw you in. Usually there is no defense except when the famous champion Gabriel Chagas of Brazil finds a spectacular counterplay, such as he did in the first session of the Mixed Pairs.
This is the principle — When an opponent tries to help you, do the same thing for the other opponent:
Here is Board 20, with the hands turned 90 degrees to make the task of following the play easier for the reader.
Board 20 Dealer North Both Vul
| J 10 9
10 9 8 4
A K J 10
| 8 5 3 2
Q 9 6 5 3 2
| A 7 6 4
A J 4 3
Q 6 5 2
| K Q
K Q 9 7 6
A K 7 3
The opening of 1NT was totally in the Mixed Pairs style where the man likes to open 1NT to make it easier for partner to respond –and to eventually play the hand if the final contract is notrump.
West led a small club which went to dummy’s 10. Chagas then played the 5.. 4, K, 2.
Then he cashed the A on which the J dropped. He returned to dummy to repeat the club finesse, and then he played the 10, which he allowed to run. He continued with the 9 which East covered, and the K took the Q.
Chagas continued a diamond to the master 8 while West discarded two clubs. With nine tricks assured (one heart, four clubs and four diamonds), and with the near certainty of a 10th, thanks to the Q, Chagas problem was how to make TWO overtricks in order to achieve a very fine score.
To this end Chagas cashed the A-K on which he threw . . . the K and Q! After making this farseeing unblocking play, he led the J which was taken by East’s ace. This was the position:
| 10 9
| 8 5
A J 3
Q 9 7
East knew that South had nothing left except hearts, and, in order to make sure of the last two tricks, he tried to give the lead to South by counter-attacking with the three of hearts. But ‘The Angel Gabriel’ did not do the expected — he played low and forced West to take the lead with the 10.
But West had nothing left but spades and had to give the last two tricks to dummy’s 10 9.
Scoring 660 on the board was practically a top (350 on 388), for of the 96 pairs who played the hand in notrump, only managed to win 11 tricks.
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