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Return of the Pole

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

Poland’s Andrzej Wilkosz has made an appearance in this spot previously. This time it’s for winning an award from the International Bridge Press Association for the best-played deal of 1981. It was played in a European tournament.

West led the ♦2 to East’s king, and East switched to the ♣3. Feeling there was a high probability that East’s club was a singleton, Wilkosz paused to consider.

If the club was singleton, West must have the ♣Q and East must have virtually all the remaining high-card points to justify his opening bid. If spades were divided 3-2, there would be no problem, but what if East had four spades?

Superficially, it appears declarer has four losers, but Wilkosz had other ideas. Check out his beautiful line of play.

He won the ♣K at trick two, ruffed a diamond and played a heart to the jack. When that held he cashed the ♥A and ruffed his last diamond. Before leading up to the ♣A, Wilkosz cashed the ♥K (discarding a club from hand) to keep East from discarding a heart when the club was played from dummy. When declarer played the club from dummy, East could not gain by ruffing, so he pitched a diamond. This was the position:

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

Needing three more tricks, Wilkosz played the ♠K, then a spade to the ace, followed by dummy’s last heart. East was helpless. If East ruffed in with a spade honor, declarer would discard his losing club and score a long trump. If East discarded the ♦A, Wilkosz would take his 10th trick with one of his low spades.

The full deal:

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