Nevada City Nonsense
It always is exciting at the Nevada City Elks Club in September. This year's production featured the usual complement of unlikely results. A special pair of hands from the Sunday Swiss Teams shows why the Gold Country Sectional is my favorite tournament.
On the following deal, both sides made eight tricks in spades!
At the first table, North-South competed to
the opponent's 3♦. The opening leader cashed the
♦AK, enabling declarer to escape for one down by playing
on trumps at his first opportunity. The only losers were two spades,
two diamonds, and one club.
The bidding was somewhat different at the other table:
Of course, the west player was planning to retreat to
at his next turn; but the auction ended prematurely.
North cashed a high heart, then switched to a club. Declarer grabbed
dummy's ace, then played a club right back to south's king. Despite having
clear-cut trump return, south woodenly advanced his remaining
heart, ruffed by west. Declarer cashed his two high diamonds, then led a low
club. North's best play at that juncture was to ruff high and return the
♠J; but he discarded a heart instead. Dummy ruffed
the club as south dumped his remaining diamond. Another heart was trumped in
hand as south underruffed helplessly with a small spade.
Now west led yet another low club. Having a second opportunity to
defeat the contract, north declined what he perceived as a futile play of
ruffing a loser with the trump ace. His second heart discard allowed
declarer to ruff with dummy's king, then elope with a final heart ruff in hand
as north still had to follow suit. Two diamonds, one club, and
five trump tricks. Making
2♠, for the most
unusual 2-imp pickup that I can remember!
In the penultimate match, declarer was handed an uncommon opportunity:
North's 5♣ cuebid guaranteed that the opponents would not make
5♠, should they bid it. After a heart lead, south
would give partner a club ruff, and that would be that.
West led the ♣A. Before dummy could spread his hand,
player — believing that he had become the dummy —
laid his entire club suit face-up on the table! The director subsequently
explained that those clubs all would be major penalty cards, to be played entirely
at declarer's discretion as long as they remained exposed. Armed with that
information, south was now in position to make his contract! Do you see how?
The solution is to take a ruffing finesse against west's
♣10! Trump the opening lead, calling for east to play
his king. Lead a heart to the ace, then advance the
♣8. If west covers, ruff in dummy as east dumps
his queen. Another heart lead to hand enables declarer to cash the
♣7 and ♣5, discarding diamonds
from dummy, as east is directed to underplay with the ♣6,
then the ♣2. If instead west ducks the second club,
then win the eight-spot and ruff out the ♣10.
Either way, one of the defense's diamond tricks evaporates. Making five,
for a profitable sacrifice indeed!