Hand of the day #76

The Aces On Bridge by Bobby Wolff

In the World Junior Championships of 1999, the match between Israel and USA-2 appeared to have scuppered the former’s chances of qualifying, although in fact they made it to the semifinals when Chinese Taipei was disqualified for fielding an overage player. Chris Willenken of the American team found a nice play here to pick up a game swing.

Opening Lead: 6

Both tables declared 3NT from the South seat on a transfer auction after East had opened 1♣ and both Wests untrustingly led a heart rather than a club. The Israeli declarer tried to maximize his chances in hearts by ducking in dummy and winning the heart cheaply in hand. Then he used his ♣A entry to table to finesse diamonds, and pressed on with that suit. But East could win his K to set up West’s hearts. The defenders now had plenty of ways to regain the lead, and East still had a heart left to reach his partner to set the hand one trick.

By contrast, at his table Chris Willenken as South focused correctly on the problem of entries to dummy. He was prepared to sacrifice the slim chance of an extra heart trick to maximize his chances of getting to dummy twice. He put up the Q at the first trick, and when it held, he now had two entries to dummy to play diamonds for five tricks. That was enough for the contract.


Bid with the Aces

This Hand of the Day was originally published on aces.bridgeblogging.com.

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