A Lead Problem of a Lifetime
Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 10/01/2012
Level: All Levels
This was Board 64 of 64 of the Grand National Team Finals played in Philadelphia (July, 2012).
At the time, the Florida team trailed the New York team by 4 IMPS.
At one table, the New York team did very well. They bid the North-South cards below to 6 and made it. Given that they had a 4-IMP lead and this was the last board, it was hard to see how they couldn't win the event.
|K 6 5
K J 9
K Q 9 7 3
A J 5 4
A Q J 10 3
||Q 10 4
10 8 6 2
9 8 6 5 4
||A J 7 3 2
A Q 8 7 6 5 2
As the spectators watched (this match was broadcasted live on BBO), this was the auction that unfolded at the other table:
Put yourself in the seat of poor John Hurd.
You are West (even though you can see the full deal, follow the auction with Mr. Hurd).
The North-South pair from Florida (I won't name them since they are good friends of mine), bid as shown to 7. There was heated debate after as to which one of them had lost his mind. But, they didn't lose the match. This brings us back to our friend on lead. What would you do? Note that you have two aces, and partner made a lead directing double of 4 (the suit you don't have an ace in). This isn't the kind of problem you'd like on the last board of a national event.
West led a trump. Declarer drew trumps and ran spades (with a finesse), throwing dummy's clubs. A club ruff in dummy provided the 13th trick for +1510. Florida won 11 IMPs on this board to win the match and the event by 7.
Updated: January 2021