Bridge Magic

Goren Bridge

Bob Jones

Dlr: North ♠ A K 10 7 5
Vul: N-S Q
K Q 6
♣ A J 10 6
♠ Q 9 2 ♠ J 8 6
A 6 K J 9 7
8 5 4 3 J 10 2
♣ Q 95 2 ♣ K 8 7
♠ 4 3
10 8 5 4 3 2
A 9 7
♣ 4 3
North East South West
1♠ Pass 1NT Pass
2♣ Pass 2 Pass
2NT Pass 3 Pass
4 All Pass

Opening lead: 5

Most experts will respond to partner’s opening bid whenever they hold an ace. That will occasionally lead to a very bad final contract, needing a magic trick by declarer for success. The 4 contract in today’s deal seems to have five losers — four trumps and a club. Watch what happened when Italian star Lorenzo Lauria played the hand. Lauria and his partner, Alfredo Versace, have been recognized as one of the best pairs in the world for about 30 years.

Lauria won the opening diamond lead with dummy’s king and led the Q. East covered with the king, of course, and was delighted when that held the trick. Lauria won the diamond continuation with his ace, then cashed the ♠A K in dummy and ruffed a spade. A low heart then went to West’s now singleton ace as dummy discarded a club.

A club shift might have defeated the contract, but West persevered with a third round of diamonds to dummy’s queen. Lauria led a good spade from dummy, hoping East would ruff. East discarded a club, instead, but so did Lauria. Declarer now ruffed dummy’s good spade to reduce his trump length to two, the same as East, and then led a club to dummy’s ace.

In the two-card end position, Lauria led a club from dummy and scored his 10 of trumps “en passant.” Magic!