Mike Lawrence
Mike Lawrence

Wikipedia: Michael Steven Lawrence (born May 28, 1940) is an American bridge player, teacher, theorist, and prolific writer. Lawrence was born in San Francisco. He started playing bridge while he was a chemistry student at the University of California.

In 1968, he was invited by Ira Corn to join the newly formed Dallas Aces team. He formed a partnership with Bobby Goldman, with whom he played a 2/1 game forcing system. They started by winning several North American Bridge Championships and, after a long Italian Blue Team reign, returned the world crown to America by winning the Bermuda Bowls in 1970 and 1971. Lawrence and James Jacoby left the Aces in 1973.

He has written more than twenty books. He received numerous book-of-the-year awards starting with his first book, How to Read Your Opponents’ Cards. He contributed to the theory of 2/1 game forcing systems, and his “2/1 semi-forcing” approach competes with Max Hardy’s “unconditional forcing” approach. Together, they wrote the book Standard Bridge Bidding for the 21st Century in 2000. He also helped develop educational bridge software with Fred Gitelman.

In addition to his world championships with the Aces, Lawrence has won another Bermuda Bowl in 1987 in partnership with Hugh Ross along with  teammates Hamman, Wolff, Martel and Stansby.

IMPs Dealer West. E/W Vul

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

This is a simple hand that shows a common defensive error. It surprises me how often this particular error occurs. At times it seems to me that bridge players don’t just find it, they are seduced by it.

Can You resist the lure?

When East gets in, he has nine cards left. It turns out that he has six good cards to play and three bad ones. The 4 is bad and, in fact, no one ever leads that. The other two bad cards are the two small spades. These are the cards that so many defenders lead in this circumstance.

East thinks along this lines. “West is ruffing spades so I will lead them for partner to trump. I could lead the ace but that would set up dummy’s king“. East does not consider that there is no way for declarer to use the K since there is no entry to it.

What happens if East leads a small spade is that South ends up going down just two tricks, losing three trumps, one spade, and two clubs. If East returns the Q, South will lose his diamond and West will still get all of his trump tricks. South will go down at least three tricks without East´s friendly low spade return at trick five.

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

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