Boston Part II

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 12/29/2008
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Boston Nationals (2008)

Last month I reported on some deals from the Boston Nationals, and continue the report here with some more advanced?level deals. First, I flash back to 2002 in this story, titled:

Six years later, less happy ending

One of my most memorable deals ever took place at the Washington D.C. NABC in 2002:

Vul: None
Dlr: South
?9 2
?A K J 10
?K 9 7
?K 8 5 2
?Q 8 7 3
?9 7
?10 8 5
?10 9 7 3
  ?A K 10 5 4
?8 6 5 4 2
?6 2
  ?J 6
?Q 3
?A Q J 4 3
?A Q J 6

Playing in the Mixed Teams with Lisa Berkowitz, I opened the South hand with a Precision 1?. Our unfamiliar partnership reached the inelegant contract of 6NT by North. East could have left well enough alone and led his ?K for down 4. When he greedily doubled, I ran to 7?, knowing his partner would be on lead. Against 7?, West didn't find the spade lead, so we made our grand slam and went on to win the event.

That deal is featured in "My Favorite 52."


Now, 6 years later, in the first session of the Blue Ribbon pairs came this deal:

Vul: Both
Dlr: East
?7 6 5 3
?10 6 4 3
?10 6 2
?8 6
?Q 8 2
?A 2
?A K
?K Q 9 7 3 2
  ?J 4
?K Q 9 7
?Q J 7 4
?A J 5
  ?A K 10 9
?J 8 5
?9 8 5 3
?10 4

I opened the East hand 1NT showing 14?16 (maybe I should have downgraded—it is an ugly 14). This time my partner was Lisa's husband, David Berkowitz. He Gerbered and over the 1?ace reply he bid 6NT. This would have made easily if the opening leader didn't know to lead spades. Déjà vu. The opening leader (South) had the ace?king of spades and greedily doubled. More deja vu: David ran to 7?! South chose not to double. Now, North had to find a spade lead or we would take all 13 tricks. Déjà vu again! Mildred Breed thought it over and guessed to lead a spade, down 2. Not so happy an ending this time. I've got to stop reaching 6NT off cashing ace?kings.


In the Life Master Pairs, I played against a friend, Jay Borker. I held the East cards on this deal:

Vul: None
Dlr: North
?J 9 4
?A 4 2
?K 4 2
?10 7 5 4
?10 8 3
?Q 10 9 8 7 6
?9 7
?6 2
  ?7 5 3
?J 3
?Q 10 6 5
?Q J 9 3
  ?A K Q 6
?K 5
?A J 8 3
?A K 8

On a quantitative auction, Jay reached 6NT by South. My partner, David Berkowitz, tried to make a safe lead??the ?6. Not so safe, it turns out. Declarer played low from dummy and I falsecarded with the Queen. Declarer still had several ways to succeed in his contract, but he thought the lead was from either J96 or 96xx (we lead second?highest from low cards). After a diamond to the king and a winning diamond finesse, declarer got the clubs wrong and went down one. Had I played a "normal" club nine at trick one, it would have been easy for declarer to read the suit. He'd have gone to dummy to lead another club (through my queen?jack) to take 3 club tricks. (Experts may note that the contract can make on any lead if declarer plays for a minor?suit squeeze against East).


Revenge was just around the corner. The next day, in the finals we played the same pair on this deal:

Vul: North-South
Dlr: North
?J 7 2
?K 9 8 7
?10 7
?K Q 5 3
?10 9 6 4 3
?A Q 10
?Q 6 3
?7 4
  ?K Q
?6 5 4 3
?J 8 2
?10 9 6 2
  ?A 8 5
?J 2
?A K 9 5 4
?A J 8

We reached 3NT by South. West had overcalled 1? (!) against our big club, and Jay, with the East cards had gotten to make a lead?directing double of spades. When a low spade was led, declarer "knew" not to waste the jack. He played low from dummy and Jay falsecarded with the king. Declarer won the ace and played a low diamond from hand at trick two. West won and played the ?10. How could declarer possibly get this right? He put up the jack and was dismayed to see it lose to the queen. A heart came back to the ace and the spades were run for down 2. (Even without the falsecard, declarer might have failed, but it was still amusing to see.) The nightly falsecard show ended up break even??both times the falsecarder got a near?top on the board. It doesn't always pay to be honest.