Source: “Play Bridge with the Aces”
Barry Crane, producer of the popular television series «Mission Impossible» is one of the leading tournament players in the country.
Each year he is among the top finishers for the McKenney Trophy, the annual award to the tournament player winning the largest number of master points during the year.
Dealer South Both Vul
| J 7 6
A 10 7 4 2
J 10 5
| K 10 9
9 8 6 3
Q 5 4
Q 7 2
| A 8
A J 10 9 7 6 2
9 6 4
| Q 5 4 3 2
K Q J
A K 8 3
Opening Lead 4
Crane’s consistent ability to score well in tournament competition is due to his aggressive bidding and excellent card play. This hand demostrates both of theses ballmarks.
East’s ace won the lead, droping Crane’s king. The diamond continuation was ruffed by declarer and the future was dim.
Declarer’s problem was to find a method to limit the defense to only two trump tricks without using dummy’s lone entry, the heart ace, for positional plays in the trump suit.
The A was needed to run the heart suit so that a club finesse not be taken.
With lightning rapidity, Crane played the trump queen form his hand; the only play to make the contract!. East won the ace a led a third diamond (as good as any other defense). Crane ruffed and led a spade toward dummy’s jack and West was in a hopeless position.
If West took his K, he could not lead diamonds. If West ducked the K, Crane would continue with and eliminate all spades, win any lead by West and claim the contract.
Crane took 3 spades, 5 hearts and 2 clubs for 10 tricks and his contract.
*Crane, who won 15 North American championships, was a Grand Life Master in the ACBL and traveled extensively to play in matchpoint pairs tournaments. In World Bridge Federation (WBF) competition he and Kerri Shuman won the fourth quadrennial World Mixed Pairs Championship in 1978.