Ottawa Citizen – 27 Feb 1987 By Ted Horning

My last two columns have dealt with bridge experts making mistakes. Today’s hand is a continuation of that theme. Both East and West were excellent players playing together for the first time in a pairs game. At that form of scor-ing, making overtricks is extremely important. Watch how expert East’s unfamiliarity with his partner’s style of play resulted in a horrible result.

None vulnerable South deals

Opening lead: Two of clubs

East won the opening lead with his club ace and proceeded to do what bridge players call «going into the tank.» This phrase refers to a long period of deliberation. When East came out of the tank, he put the three of clubs on the table. He saw this as the safest continuation as he expected his partner to own the king.

In a pairs game, when the defenders fail to cash an ace, it usually results in a well below average score. South was able to take advantage of East’s slip such that two cashing aces vanished into thin air! Needless to say this resulted in a magnificent score for North/South. South won the club king, noting West’s nine and cashed the heart king.

He played the heart nine to dummy’s queen and cashed the queen of clubs. South knew that he would score well by discarding his lone diamond on this trick and then give up a spade trick. Declarer’s table feel, however, told him that he could do even better. He discarded a small spade on the club queen and when West’s jack fell, he pitched his last spade on the good ten of clubs.

Next South called the spade king from dummy, East covered (he knew that it could never gain to duck) and South ruffed with a high trump. South now played the three of hearts to dummy’s four and discarded his diamond king on the jack of spades Making six beat every other North/South score on this hand.

East exclaimed that he would never lead from a jack against the bidding that occurred. The disagreement was not a question of right versus wrong but a matter of different style. Of course such things are to be expected in new partnerships, even those of experts.