Monday 26 January 1998
!10 8 6
#10 8 7 4 3
2J 8 6 3 2
49 7 2 4J 10 8 5 3
!5 3 !9 7 4 2
#J 9 6 5 2 #A
29 7 4 2K 10 5
4A K Q 6 4
!A K Q J
Extremely powerful hands, such as South's on this deal from a pairs event, are traditionally difficult to develop - probably because players rarely get any practice in handling them.
Some pairs stopped in Three No-trumps, which was comfortable enough; some played in Four No-trumps (when it was not clear whether the bid was natural or conventional) and found that they could scrape home by extracting all of East's red cards and putting him in with the fourth round of spades, enabling them to finesse in clubs when East eventually led one.
Three pairs reached the only slam that offered any play - Six Hearts - against which West led a diamond to his partner's ace. Twice a trump was returned and now it was plain sailing: win, ruff spade, finesse 2Q, ruff spade, 2A, draw trumps, and claim.
The remaining East, however, introduced a bizarre diversion which proved effective. After winning with #A he returned 2K. Goodness knows what he had in mind, but can you blame South for thinking that this was the singleton rather than #A?
So South won, ruffed a spade, came back with a trump, and ruffed another spade. Now he needed to come back to hand to draw the last trumps and, not unnaturally, attempted to do so with #K - which was ruffed by East!
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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