They Missed the Point

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 08/01/2017
Level: Intermediate

This deal was written up in this year's Daily Bulletin for the premier money tournament--the Cavendish held in Monaco.

Deviating from my normal "one-person view" style, take a look at the full deal:

Dlr: North
♠ J942
♥ 106
♦ K7
♣ AJ1062
♠ AK1086
♥ AQ82
♦ AQ63
♣ --
  ♠ Q753
♥ 9743
♦ 1082
♣ 54
  ♠ --
♥ KJ5
♦ J954
♣ KQ9873

At one table, Zia opened the South hand 1♠. West doubled and after North's limit raise, Zia bid 5♠. West doubled again and led the ♠A.

Declarer seems to have two hearts and a diamond to lose, but it wasn't to be.

He trumped the spade lead and led a diamond. West took the ace and persisted with spades. Declarer was able to cash the ♠K and after drawing trumps, lead the ♠J to pin the 10. West covered the jack (if he didn't, a heart would be thrown from dummy). The ♠9 was now good for a heart discard from dummy. Zia lost only one trick in each red suit and made his contract.

That was the end of the writeup. The article missed the point. Your thoughts?

For one, how did Zia know to lead the ♠J to pin the 10 instead of just leading the ♠9 to hope the queen would fall? He probably figured that if West was 5=5=3=0 he would have started with a Michaels cuebid of 2♠. On the other hand, he did insult West.

Why? Because he played West to have misdefended. West made an amateur mistake at trick two. He failed to play second-hand low! What was the hurry to grab the ♠A? All he captured was a bunch of Monaco air. If West plays low, dummy's ♠K wins, but declarer can never establish another diamond. West retains the ♠AQ6 over declarer's ♠J95.

Basically, Zia gave up on the "legitimate" chance (♠AQx). He played West to have made a mistake. Not only did West misdefend, but Zia added insult to the injury.