OCT. 29, 2014 by Phillip Alder
The winners of the Open Pairs at the world championships in China last weekend were Ehud Friedlander and Inon Liran of Israel. They finished comfortably ahead of Jacek Kalita and Michal Nowosadzki of Poland. Third were Thomas Bessis and Cedric Lorenzini of France. The top American pair, David Berkowitz and Chris Willenken, came fourth.
One interesting fact is that the average age of the medalists was only 33.
The winners gained a huge score in the diagramed deal from the seventh session of nine in the final.
After a straightforward transfer sequence, South was in three no-trump. Friedlander (West), not liking to play away from one of his honors, decided to lead the heart seven.
Liran (East) took the first trick with his jack and returned the suit to dummy’s ace.
When South ran dummy’s diamond nine, West won with his king and carefully returned the suit. Declarer took that in the dummy and played a club to his king. West continued his cautious approach, taking the trick and leading his last diamond.
After winning in the dummy, South played a spade to his king. West ducked smoothly. He knew his partner had the jack; otherwise, declarer would surely have attacked spades immediately.
Duly fooled, South now led a spade to dummy’s ten. What did East do after taking the trick with his jack?
Everyone had five cards left. Dummy held three spades and queen-doubleton of clubs. Declarer had the heart king, diamond ace and jack-third of clubs. West retained ace-doubleton of spades and three clubs.
East realized that if he led a heart, South would have won and cashed the diamond ace to squeeze West in the black suits. West could not have kept the spade ace and three clubs.
So East accurately led his club, which defeated the contract. Declarer ran it to dummy’s queen, returned a club to his jack and cashed his two red-suit winners, but West won the last trick with his club ten. The defenders took one spade, one heart, one diamond and two clubs.
Plus 100 was worth 42 match points out of 52.
Watch out for that ace-ducking play, but you must do it in tempo. Any pause would give the game away.