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Missed Opportunity

Hand of the Week

Dlr:
West
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ 10 4
Q 9 7 2
K 10 9 3 2
♣ 10 5
South
♠ A Q 8 7 3
A K J
8
♣ A Q 8 4
West North East South
2 Pass 2 Dbl
2♠ 3 Pass 3NT
All Pass

On this deal from the match between Italy and the U.S. at the World Bridge Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, Italy had a chance for a big gain, but it slipped through their fingers.

At one table, Bjorn Fallenius opened the West hand 1♠, and that’s where he played it.

Despite the bad break, Fallenius made eight tricks for plus 110. The auction was more lively at the other table, where Zia Mahmood and Michael Rosenberg opposed Giorgio Duboin and Norberto Bocchi.

Zia’s 2 was the ubiquitous Multi, showing a weak two-bid in a major. In the given auction, no doubt Bocchi was hoping his partner could make a value-showing double over 2♠, but when Duboin bid 3 it was reasonable for South to try 3NT.

West led the ♠5, taken in dummy with the 10 as East discarded the ♣3. Declarer can now take the club finesse and get home from there by cashing his high hearts and playing a diamond. If West ducked, the king provides an entry to dummy to cash the last heart and nine tricks come rolling in. If West wins, he will be endplayed into giving declarer enough tricks to succeed.

Anyway, declarer ran the ♣10 to West’s jack, and West found the best shift of a low diamond. Declarer put up the king and played back a diamond, West winning with the ace. A third round of diamonds went to East’s jack. He could not afford to cash the Q, so he switched to a club. Declarer put in the queen, cashed the ♣A and K to reach this ending:

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

Had declarer, needing three tricks, played the ♠A (or, just to be devilish, the queen), East’s hand would have been in the meat grinder. Instead, declarer overtook the J in dummy and finished down one.

The full deal:

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