In June 1997, 21 years ago the 43rd GENERALI EUROPEAN BRIDGE CHAMPIONSHIPS was played in Montecatini Terme, Italy. Today we bring you an article that was published in the second bulletin of that event.

Pre-Montecatini 2017 Analysis Slow and Quick:

Monday, 16 June 1997

(The Editor, sometimes known as the ‘Mozart’ of bridge on account of how he used to analyse problems at his mother’s knee, presented this problem to the readers of ‘Bridge Magazine’ in 1956. Of course he claims it was written by his Grand-Father).

Below is a hand which was published in Le Figaro and also in the American Bridge World. It occurred in a match which consisted of only one deal (!),the players being Messrs. Samuel Stayman, Stephen A. Lynch, J.T. Reese and Boris Schapiro.

Dealer North:

7 3
10 5 3
A 10 9 4
9 7 5 2
A J 6 4
Q J 7 2
J 8 3
Q 3
10 9 5
A 9 4
7 2
A K J 10 8
K Q 8 2
K 8 6
K Q 6 5
6 4
West North East South
Lynch Stayman Reese Schapiro
Pass 1 1
1 3 Pass Pass
Dbl Pass Pass Pass

One of the terms of this one-deal match was that at least a game contract had to be reached otherwise the deal would not count. With West’s double a game contract had been reached.

East-West took the first four tricks:

East took two clubs and led the ten of spades, the ace killing South’s king. West led the queen of hearts to East’s ace. Reese now led the jack of clubs, which he might have led at trick three, instead of a spade.

Stayman ruffed high,West discarding a heart. He led the five of diamonds and finessed dummy’s nine. Dummy’s last club was ruffed with South’s remaining honour, this play (according to the analysts) producing a trump squeeze.

Here is the position:

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

South, remember, is winning the trick with the king of diamonds and West has to discard. If he throws a spade South takes two more trumps, discarding the eight of hearts from his own hand, then makes the queen of spades and ruffs a spade. He takes the last two tricks with the king of hearts and eight of spades.

Jean Paul Meyer
Jean Paul Meyer

If, instead of discarding a spade,West discards a heart, the play is similar except that South discards a spade on dummy’s penultimate diamond and ends up by making the king and ten of hearts.

What the analysts did not spot was that West is not trump-squeezed at all; he merely discards a trump and cannot be prevented from making one more trick to defeat the contract.