ACBL Bridge Beat #119: 1987 Reisinger Pt. 2

“The Reisinger final is probably the toughest tournament in the world,” Zia said. “You play in the last stages against nine teams, each of which could win any world championship.”

Team members knew they were headed for victory when they won 21out of 27 boards in the first final session. But at one point during the qualifying when Smith and Cohen lost an appeal, they were extremely discouraged.

The next day, things started to click and they began to win. “I wish we had been at a blackjack table,” Zia said. “We could have made a fortune.”

After pulling far ahead in the first final session, Zia and Co. fell upon bad times. After four rounds in the second final session, they had only won three points out of a possible 12, and a couple of teams were breathing down their necks.

But then the magic returned – they won 11.5 out of their final 15 deals. Here are some hands that put them on the road to victory.

Underleads of doubletons paid handsome dividends once for each pair. Zia made his deceptive lead in the first final session.

Board: 7

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

Zia lead the ♠2, which of course looked like a normal fourth-best to declarer – even more so when Jaggy covered with the 9 and declarer won with the jack. Declarer went after diamonds, dropping the king with the ace, finessing the 10, cashing the queen and giving up a trick to the jack.

Declarer now had nine tricks, but this was board-a-match, so overtricks were of prime importance. When Zia led the ♠7, declarer thought it was safe to finesse the 10 – but Jaggy produced the queen! Now declarer was forever cut off from his spade and diamond tricks in dummy.

He was forced to take the finesse on the heart return and now he could no longer bring home his contract. He actually failed by two tricks while Cohen and Smith made the notrump game at the other table for the win.

Ron Smith made his underlead midway through the play of this deal from the second final.

Board: 25

Dlr: North ♠ A Q 10 5 2
Vul: E-W
J 10 8 3 2
♣ A J 3
♠ K J 9 7 ♠ 8 6
10 9 8 7 6 Q J 5 3
A K 9 7
♣ K 8 ♣ 10 9 7 6 2
♠ 4 3
A K 4 2
Q 6 5 4
♣ Q 5 4
Smith Cohen
West North East South
1♠ Pass 1NT
Pass 2 Pass 2NT
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 3NT Pass 4
Pass 5 All Pass

Cohen led a trump and Smith, after cashing his ace and king, led the diabolical ♣8. Declarer could see that he could discard two clubs on the AK, and the 8 made him think the king was offside, so he went up with the ace.

But declarer had to use a valuable trump to return to dummy for the club discards – and that did him in. He no longer had enough trumps to ruff all of his losers, and he wound up down one.

That fine lead by Smith salvaged only half a board because Jaggy and Zia were set one trick at 3NT at the other table.

Cohen and Smith came up with a neat defense on this deal from the second final.

Board: 15

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

Smith led his top heart to the 10, queen and ace. A club to the 9 drew Cohen’s king, and he returned a heart to the jack. Declarer couldn’t cash the king because that would have set up two heart tricks for Smith. Instead he continued work on the clubs, but Smith was ready – he won his ace and led his last club, pinning declarer in his hand.

Declarer led a spade to the 10 and jack, endplaying Cohen. Cohen got out with a spade and declarer took a successful finesse – but he had to play diamonds out of his hand. As a result he took only seven tricks for +90. This proved to be a win when Jaggy and Zia combined to beat 2 two tricks at the other table.