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A Famous Hand By Jay Becker

South dealer. North/South vulnerable.

Opening lead: king of diamond.

Here is a neat hand played many years ago by the Viennese expert, Siegfried Klausner. Not many declarers would have brought home the slam. The principle that Klausner applied is known as a gambit—a term borrowed front chess, where a player deliberately sacrifices a piece in the expectation of later capturing one or more of his opponent’s pieces because of the sacrificial maneuver.

Klausner realized that it was next to impossible to crossruff the hand successfully. Accordingly, he decided to bank- his hopes on the establishment of dummy’s clubs, even though there appeared to be a shortage of entries for this purpose. He won the ace of diamonds, led a club to the ace, and ruffed a club.

But in ruffing he was careful to trump with the queen, not a low trump. This was the first of two fine plays he made. Klausner next played the ace of spades, both opponents following low, and then led the deuce of spades, deliberately conceding a trick to the jack.

It was the second star move he had made, and it absolutely assured the contract, West won with the jack but there was nothing he could do to stop the slam. He did as well as he could when he returned a diamond, forcing dummy to ruff, but Klausner trumped a club with the king, reentered dummy by playing the six of spades to the ten, and thus won the rest of the tricks.

Had declarer neglected to ruff the deuce of clubs high, or had he failed to underlead the king of spades, he would inevitably have gone down.



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