Hand of the Week
Bob Hamman, one of the all-time great players, caught an opponent napping on this deal from the World Bridge Championships in Verona, Italy. The deal was reported by Ron Klinger of Australia in the Daily Bulletin published at the championship.
Via a sequence that need not be preserved for posterity, Bob Hamman had opened a strong club as South and finished in 6♦. West started with the ♠3 and Bob played dummy’s king. He ruffed East’s ace, drew trumps thanks to the favorable layout and cashed the hearts. This was the position:
Bob exited with the ♣2. Had West been a good counter, he would have known that declarer had started with no spades, four hearts and five diamonds. Therefore South had to have four clubs and hence East had a singleton. It was therefore vital to rise with the ♣K – a crocodile coup – and return the ♣10, leaving South with another club loser.
To rise with the ♣K was safe whether East had the ♣J or ♣Q. South would not have started with the ♣A Q J x, as he would have discarded the low club on the ♠Q when in dummy with the ♦K. In practice West played an automatic second-hand-low on the ♣2, East won but had only spades left, and away went South’s two club losers.
“It is very close whether to play the ♠9 at trick one,” said Hamman later, “but I was concerned that East might have the ♠A and the ♠J. It was lucky that I did not play a low spade. If I had, I would ruff East’s ace, play ♦A, diamond to the king and discard two clubs on the ♠K, ♠Q. That would rely on the club finesse and diamonds behaving, but then the slam would have been one down.”
The full deal: