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Caution, Genius at Work: Joe Grue by Brian Senior

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Joe Grue is one of North America’s top young players, having played with considerable success on the USA Youth teams at world championships in the first decade of this century and since graduated to the open ranks. He is a hugely talented and imaginative player – sometimes a little too imaginative for his own good. This deal from the 2005 World Youth Championships saw him at his imaginative best.


There is an inescapable loser in each suit, so 4 is doomed to failure, is it not? Perhaps so, against most declarers, but Joe Grue is not most declarers.

Gavin Wolpert
Gavin Wolpert

Wolpert led a heart against 4 doubled and Demuy ducked it to Grue’s nine. To trick two Grue led the jack of spades from hand, trusting that the spade had to be offside to justify Demuy’s double – who would double with a trump holding that was favourably placed for declarer?

Vincent Demuy
Vincent Demuy

Had Wolpert gone in with his queen he could then have collected a heart ruff for down two, but he played low, not believing that anyone could play this way from Grue’s actual holding.

When the J scored and West followed suit, Grue happily cashed the top spades and simply conceded one trick in each side-suit; for a wonderful +590 and a game swing to USA1.


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