Phillip Alder

The Goren Trophy is awarded to the player who wins the most masterpoints during the Fall North American Championships. This year’s winner was Agustin Madala, who hails from Argentina but represents Italy. He amassed 402.22 points, 83.32 more than Steve Weinstein of Andes, N.Y.

Madala won the Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs (with Weinstein), was second in the Reisinger Board-a-Match Teams and fourth in the Mitchell Board-a-Match Teams.

In the diagramed deal from the last day of the Reisinger, Madala made a simple play, but one that would be either missed by a less experienced player or telegraphed.


 Q J 10 9
 Q 8 6 5
 A Q 7
 Q 3

 A 6 4
 K J 4
 K 9 5 4
 A J 4

 8 5 3
 10 9
 J 10 6 3 2
 7 6 2


 K 7 2
 A 7 3 2  
 K 10 9 8 5


Dealer North, East and West were Vulnerable

West    North      East      South
       1      Pass      1
Pass      2      Pass      2NT
Pass      3      Pass       3
Pass     Pass      Pass  

Contract: 3

Lead: 6

Agustin Madala en Bali 2013

In the auction, Madala (West) chose not to overcall with one no-trump. South’s two no-trump was an inquiry and North’s three diamonds showed a minimum hand with four hearts. South then cautiously signed off in three hearts.

West, knowing his partner was broke, had an unappealing lead. He chose the imaginative spade six. South won with dummy’s nine, played a heart to his ace and led another heart. Madala followed with his jack.

The percentage play is to cover with dummy’s queen, but after a pause, declarer called for a low heart. Now the contract made exactly, South losing one spade, two hearts and one club.

Note that if West had hesitated for a moment when he played the heart jack, he would have given the game away.

At the other table (where South was the dummy), West won the second round of hearts with his king, saving declarer a guess.

Make your opponents work for their tricks.

By ferlema