People do crazy things in pair games sometimes, all in the quest for tops. This deal occurred in a regionally rated game during the 1991 Summer NABC in Las Vegas, one of the largest NABC ever held — more than 24,221 tables over the 10-day tournament.
What would you do with these cards to earn your place in the sun? No one is vulnerable.
West leads a low diamond to East’s queen. How do you proceed to earn your top?
You can see that you have seven tricks — five spades, the ♦A and a diamond ruff. There is almost no chance that you can avoid three club losers. On the other hand, the opponents have a 10-card diamond fit, the top two hearts plus the possibility of a finesse against the queen, not to mention all the good spots in clubs. It looks like nine tricks in diamonds, possibly more, is a trivial exercise. Therefore, minus 50 or 100 look to be pretty decent scores.
Our hero did not see it that way, however, as he emerged with a plan to make his contract. How, you ask? Think about it a bit more before you read on.
Believe it or not, when East played the♦Q at trick one, declarer ducked! This set in motion a chain of events that led to a cold top for our hero. The full deal:
When his ♦Q held, East was certain that West had underled his ♦A and was looking for a ruff. The ♥A was cashed, felling West’s singleton king, and the flustered East gave partner a heart ruff. Now West was convinced that, since East possessed the ♦A, South had to have the ♣K for his opening bid — a thin opener at that, even with the ♣K. Accordingly, West played another diamond. South won the ace, entered dummy with a spade to the queen, ruffed a heart high, then played the ♠A and another spade to dummy to cash the good hearts. That was plus 140 and all of the matchpoints.