Perfect Read

Goren Bridge

Bob Jones

Dlr: South ♠ K 10 5 3
Vul: N-S A
9 8 5 4
♣ KQ 4 3 2
♠ 6 2 ♠ A J 9 8
Q 5 3 9 7 4
A J 10 Q 7 6 3
♣ K J 7 6 5 ♣ 9 8
♠ Q 7 4
K J 10 8 6 2
K 2
♣ A 10
South West North East
1 Pass 1♠ Pass
2 All Pass

Opening lead: ♠6
Today’s deal, we are told, is from an all expert high-stakes rubber bridge game some years ago. South was Zia Mahmood, who has gone on to win several world championships. His partner was the late Omar Sharif.
West found the best opening lead of a spade, which went to the 10, jack, and queen. Zia led the ♣A and another club, losing to West’s king. A second spade went to East’s eight and he had to guess how to continue. Cashing the ♠A and shifting to diamonds would have done the trick, but East thought he was perfectly safe leading a heart to dummy’s ace. That was dummy’s only entry. Should declarer try to cash the ♣Q, East could ruff it and he would still be sitting over dummy’s spades.
Zia read the position perfectly. Instead of trying to cash the ♣Q, Zia ruffed a low club, cashed the K, and exited with the ♥J to West’s queen. West had an unpleasant choice between giving dummy the ♣Q for a discard or setting up South’s K. Well played!
Zia’s card reading was based on sound logic. West had led dummy’s suit rather than either unbid minor. Zia reasoned that he probably held a high honor in each minor that he didn’t want to lead away from. East’s ♣9 8 looked like a doubleton. The more we look at the available clues, the more logical Zia’s play becomes.

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