Two Expert Pushes

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 12/13/2007
Level: Intermediate

On the road to victory in the Open BAM in San Francisco (2007) we played these back-to-back deals against one of the best teams in the event.

BAM scoring is basically matchpoints, but with only one comparison. That means every little point counts. 

David & I faced Chinese World Champions Fu-Zhao on this layout:

?10 9
?A 10 8 5
?A 7 5
?A K Q 6
?J 7 6 4 2
?Q J 10 4
?7 5 2
?J 7 6 4
?K 9 6 3 2
?9 4 3
  ?A K Q 8 5
?K Q 3 2
?J 10 8
Larry Cohen Zhao David Fu


Fu-Zhao bid the North-South cards effectively to the proper contract (at BAM scoring) of 7? .

If hearts were 3-2, declarer would take his 12 top tricks and then a ruff for the 13th. How would declarer cope with the bad breaks?

He won the diamond lead and played a heart to the king. My nine would have been the proper falsecard from ?J9xx (giving declarer an option to pick up 4-1 hearts on either side). Undeterred, Fu continued with a low heart to dummy's ace (I guess he didn't think I had falsecarded). Another heart from dummy allowed him to pick up the trumps. However, he had only his 12 top tricks. He couldn't ruff a spade in dummy and there was no squeeze, down one.


If you were playing IMPS, do you see a possibly safer contract??

7♠ looks pretty good as well and would likely make. Although both 7? and 7? could make double-dummy, it was no surprise that our teammates (Martel-Stansby) also reached the top-scoring (and proper BAM) contract of 7?. The play was card-for-card the same at both tables for a push at down one.

On the second deal of the round there was more "expert bridge."

?9 5 4 3
?A K 5 4
?8 6 4 2
?Q J 8 2
?A J 7 5
?K 5 3 2
  ?K 10 6
?Q 10 6
?10 9 3
?Q 10 7 6
  ?A 7
?J 8 7 3 2
?K Q
?A 9 8 4

Again, both North-South pairs bid to the top contact, 4?. At both tables, South opened 1?, West made a takeout double, and North showed a limit raise.

Declarer has to lose a spade, diamond and a trump trick. What about his three little clubs in hand? If he ruffs all of them in dummy, that entails using up one of dummy's heart honors. That opens up the possibility of East winning two trumps tricks.

However, good technique and timing saw both declarers through. The ? lead was ducked and the next spade was taken with the ace. Next came the ?K to West's ace. West shifted to a trump won in dummy.

Declarer cashed his other high diamond (the way to prepare for a crossruff). Now came the ?A and a club ruff. A spade was ruffed in hand followed by another club ruff in dummy.


With the lead in dummy, this was the end position:

?8 6
?J 7
?Q 10
?J 8 7

The timing was just right. Dummy played a diamond and declarer ruffed in hand. Now a club ruff with the ?K left the lead in dummy at trick 12. East has the ?Q10, declarer the ?J8, but whatever suit dummy played, East would have to ruff high or low and get only one trump trick.

A well-played (really well-timed) push at 620.

For the round, each team scored 1.0 out of 2.0. For a complete explanation of Board-A-Match scoring, click here





Updated Feb 2022