Rome News-Tribune – 30 Mar 1988

For much of his life Grant Baze was simply a winning rubber-bridge player in tough San Francisco clubs and a strong competitor in North American Championship tournaments. Then he won the McKenney trophy in 1983 and repeated that win in 1984. Since then he has been much in demand as a bridge professional, whether as part-ner, teacher, or even lecturer at cruise vacations for bridge enthusiasts. Today’s deal from a tournament shows Grant picking a lead out of thin air to mesmerize declarer into going set.

Vulnerable: Neither; Dealer. South

Lead: J

In today’s auction, South described a balanced hand of 24-28 high-card points. When North invited slam, South promptly accepted. Baze, West, had no indication as to the best lead against six no-trump, and obviously any lead might sacrifice a trick. So rather than lead away from one of his queens or jacks, he stepped up to the plate and swung away with his jack of hearts. Babe Ruth never hit a cleaner home rim. Declarer South naturally assumed the heart jack to be from a J-10 sequence. So in due course, after cashing the king and queen of hearts and noting the fall of the nine from East, declarer played toward dummy’s A-8. When Grant followed with the seven, declarer inserted the eight. East won the 10, and declarer’s 12 tricks had shrunk to only 11.