Resurrecting a Lady by Omar Sharif

Omar Sharif jugando el Sunday Time

The Victoria Advocate – 22 Mar 1991

South Dealer, All Vulnerable

  Q 5
9 8 3
10 8
A 8 7 6 4 2
J 7 6 4 3
K 6 4
Q 7 2
J 3
  10 9 8 2
Q 7 5
K 5 4
Q 10 9
  A K
A J 10 2
A J 9 6 3
K 5
West North East South
Pass 3NT The End

Lead: 4

There are many hands that, supposedly, occurred at the table and featured brilliant play or defense by a star player. Thorough investigation often turns up the fact that they really were problem compositions.

We have seen today’s hand in many guises.To the best of our knowledge, this is the form in which it was originally conceived by one of the greatest problem composers of any era, the late Robert Darvas.

At the table let’s suppose that South mixes up a diamond with the clubs and opens two no trump. (Many of today’s players would opt for that opening bid anyway for a variety of reasons.) North would raise to three no trump and all that remains is for South to land the contract after a spade lead. It is distinctly unlucky that North’s queen of spades is a wasted card.

However the secret of the problem is to resuscitate the lady.

To start with, declarer should cash the king and ace of clubs. When both defenders follow, declarer should continue with a third round of clubs, to set up three long cards in the suit.

What should South discard from hand?

If you selected the remaining high spade, move to the head of the class. With one stroke you have succeeded in bringing North’s queen to life and neutralizing the enemy long suit

After winning the queen of East cannot play a spade, since that will provide an entry to dummy and the good clubs will be enough to make the contract. Suppose East returns a diamond. (The play would be only slightly different after a heart return.) Declarer follows low, and the best West can do is win and return the suit, picking up partner’s king.

Declarer simply wins and exits with a low heart. By conceding two tricks in hearts, declarer comes to one spade trick, two hearts, four diamonds and two clubs. The defenders get only two hearts one diamond and one club.