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Tough Way to Lose a Board

Dlr:
North
Vul:
N-S
North
♠ Q 10 4
7 4 3
J 7 3 2
♣ K Q 8
South
♠ A K 2
A K Q 9 8 6
A K 6 5
♣ —

Charles Goren was one of the most charismatic characters in the annals of bridge. He could play a bit of bridge as well. Check out this deal from the Master Mixed Teams, a board-a-match event. The board was lost, but it takes nothing away from his magnificent play.

Goren found himself in 6, against which West led the singleton J. Goren won, pulled trumps and cashed the top two diamonds from his hand. The bad break in the diamond suit put the contract in jeopardy, but Goren found an elegant solution.

He figured that West, with two red singletons, had length in the black suits, making it more likely he held the two key cards — the ♣A and ♠J.

At trick six, Goren cashed the ♠A and played low to the 10! When that held, he played the ♣K and discarded his ♠K! West won but had to put declarer back in dummy with a black-suit return, and Goren’s two losing diamonds went on the two black queens. If West ducked the ♣K, Goren would then pitch a losing diamond on the ♠Q and get home with only one diamond loser.

So, how did this wonderful board end up as a loss? At the other table, North-South bid to 7, and Goren’s teammate in the West seat led the ♣A — end of story.

The full deal:

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