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 North. Both Vul

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

North stretched a tiny bit and got South to game. West’s hand wasn´t bargain to lead from and he settle on the 3.

How should South play?

One line to avoid is this. If South plays the A-K and follows later with a club finesse, he will go down if East has the K and cashed the Q. South will get four hearts, one diamond, one diamond ruff, and three club tricks. The slam-bang approach has problems.

How should South avoid this danger?

If you see the problem in advance, it is correctable. Here is one possible solution: Win the diamond lead and play a spade. Someone win this. Say West wins.

What is he to do?

West will probably continue spades or may switch to a trump. Let us assume West leads another spade. South ruff and leads theQ. East will win, but as soon as South gets in he will play theA-K. South will have time now to get ten tricks since the defenders won’t be able to get in to draw a third round of trumps. The only flaw with this play is that East may have four clubs to the king and refuse the first club finesse.

If South repeats the finesse East may win and give West a club ruff. This is not automatically a disaster since West may be ruffing with a trump trick. All in all, the small dangers of playing safe make up for the dangerous straightforward line mentioned earlier.

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

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