A Losing Option

Goren Bridge

Bob Jones

Dlr: North ♠ K
Vul: N-S K Q 9
A J 8 4
♣ A K J 8 3
♠ 10 7 2 ♠ Q J 8
10 7 5 2 A J 4
K 10 2 Q 7 5 3
♣ Q 10 9 ♣ 6 4 2
♠ A 9 6 5 4 3
8 6 3
9 6
♣ 7 5
North East South West
1♣ Pass 2♠* Pass
4♠ All Pass

*Weak, six spades; with 4-7 high-card points
Opening lead: 2

North-South were using weak jump responses to partner’s opening bid, a treatment that has a strong following among today’s tournament players. North chose to raise South to game, no doubt hoping for a better trump suit in his partner’s hand.

The friendly lie of the East-West cards would have seen declarer home against most defenders, but East on this deal was Chuck Berger, of Detroit, a leading American expert. The opening diamond lead was ducked in dummy and won by Berger with the queen. Berger shifted accurately to a low heart to West’s 10 and dummy’s king. He only needed for his partner to have an entry and the contract could be defeated.

Declarer cashed dummy’s ♠K as Berger followed suit with the jack. South cashed the A and ruffed a diamond, felling West’s king. The ♠A was cashed next and Berger followed with the queen! Declarer can succeed at this point by leading a club to dummy and discarding a heart on the J. West would have to ruff this with his natural trump trick.

South needed the spades to be 3-3 or the contract was hopeless, so he did the same thing any good player would do — he led another spade hoping that Berger’s original trump holding was Q-J-10. West won this with the 10 and led a heart. Berger’s two heart tricks left South down one after a great defense.

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