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Good Lead, Good Play

Dlr:
South
Vul:
Both
North
♠ 10 2
A J 2
A K 10 8 3
♣ A Q 4
South
♠ A K Q 9
Q 4 3
7 6
♣K J 5 3
West North East South
1♠ (1)
Pass 3 Pass 3NT
Pass 4NT Pass 6NT
All Pass

(1) Even in the Forties, what was to become the Goren system advocated opening biddable four-card majors. A 1NT opener showed 16-18 high-card points.

Although he died 30 years ago, Charles Goren’s name is still synonymous with bridge – and for good reason. Goren was a tireless promoter of the game and a many-time national champion. You can see why by a close look at the following deal.

West did well not to start with fourth-best from either major, which would have given Goren his 12th trick on opening lead. The 9 seemed safe enough, given the layout, but it didn’t make any difference. In fact, Goren took an inference from the lead that helped him make the slam.

He won the opening lead in dummy and played a spade to his ace. The heart finesse had to work or he had no play.

At trick three he played a heart to dummy’s jack, which held. Next, Goren cashed his club tricks as East pitched a spade and West a heart. Goren then played a diamond to dummy’s king and a spade to the king. When East showed out on the third round of spades, Goren had an easy route to 12 tricks. He simply put West in with the ♠J, leaving him to play away from his K at trick 12 into Goren’s split tenace.

The full deal:

Dlr:
Vul:
North
♠ 10 2
A J 2
A K 10 8 3
♣ A Q 4
West
♠ J 8 6 3
K 10 8 6
9 5
♣ 9 7 2
East
♠ 7 5 4
9 7 5
Q J 4 2
♣ 10 8 6
South
♠ A K Q 9
Q 4 3
7 6
♣ K J 5 3