Observer-Reporter – 5 Oct 1972

North- South vulnerable. South deals.

Opening lead: 10

A correct reading of his opponents’ distribution provided South with the information required to uncover a winning line of play and thereby salvage his six no trump contract which was momentarily threatened by an adverse division in clubs.

Although North’s hand is worth 19 points including distribution, usually sufficient for an immediate jump shift response when partner opens the bidding, the presence of a potential misfit caused him to adopt a more cautious approach initially. He contented himself with a temporizing one round force by responding with two clubs. South’s rebid of 2NT shows roughly the equivalent of an opening no trump bid.

North was now determined to reach a slam and made one more try for a suit contract by bidding three diamonds. When South merely returned to three no trump, North abandoned further exploration and proceeded directly to six no trump.

West opened the ten of hearts, the deuce was played from dummy and East won the trick with the king. The latter shifted to the nine of spades and South put up the ace. Declarer appeared to be on the verge of success, for with any normal division in clubs, he could expect to take five club tricks, two diamonds, two hearts, and three spades.

He tested the clubs first by cashing the queen and then leading over to North’s jack. When West showed out, discarding a heart on the second round—South’s trick total was temporarily reduced to 11. Declarer had several things going for him, however. East was known to have five clubs and his shift to the nine of spades presumably marked West with the outstanding length in that suit. If this were, in fact, the case—neither opponent could protect diamonds as declarer cashed out his side winners and the diamond suit would ultimately produce a 12th trick for South.

The ace and king of clubs were cashed on which South discarded the deuce of spades and the deuce of diamonds. West realized from his partner’s shift to a high spade, that he would have to retain his holding in that suit. He put off his discarding problems temporarily by disposing of his remaining hearts—the nine and ten.

South now cashed the ace of hearts and led over to his queen. West was obliged to give up the six and seven of diamonds. The king and queen of spades came next on which dummy parted first with the three of diamonds and then the four of clubs as both opponents followed suit. West was known to have started with one club and four hearts. Since he was presumed to hold the fourth spade, this would indicate that he also began with four diamonds. Since he had already discarded two cards in that suit, the outstanding diamonds appeared to be divided two-two. The king of diamonds was played followed by a small one to North’s ace. When East’s queen dropped, the jack of diamonds took the last trick.