Source: IBPA Bulletin Jun 2022
Few bridge deals contain either a bid or play which could be described as imaginative. Similarly, there are not many players who have imagination in their repertoire. The following deal comes from the quarterfinal of the Bermuda Bowl between USA2 and Norway. Vincent Demuy, originally from Canada, is a player who has such a repertoire.
Board 42 Dealer East. Both Vul
South led the 10.
Declarer could count eight top tricks and had good chances for a ninth. Either diamonds or spades could bring the ninth trick and there were other chances as well. Demuy showed his imagination when he ducked North’s jack of diamonds!
If North had continued with diamonds, they’d have split four-two at worst and declarer would have established his fifth diamond. If instead, North had shifted to a club, Demuy would have ducked that. He then would have the extra chance of the club honours being split.
So, North shifted to the king of hearts and declarer also ducked that. His plan was to duck the heart queen if that was the next play, forcing North to make a play favourable to him. In the event, North continued with a low heart and declarer won with the jack in hand to give him his ninth trick.
At the other table, Tor Helness, playing against Gavin Wolpert (North) and Warren Spector (South), received the same lead. He won with the ace of diamonds at trick one to lead a club to the eight and nine. South returned a club to the jack, queen and ace. Declarer cashed the king of diamonds, North pitching a heart. Helness exited with his third club to South’s king. Spector cashed his club winner while dummy and North both pitched hearts, declarer discarding a diamond. South exited with a heart, declarer winning with the ace and crossing to the king of spades. When he took the queen of diamonds, Wolpert tried the effect of the king of hearts as a discard. Helness was not fooled: he cashed the queen of spades and exited with his last heart to North’s queen, making the last two spade winners in dummy.
This was also well-played. The same boards were played in all four championships and, on this deal, every table declared in three notrump. Twenty of thirty-two declarers made it, but Demuy was the only one to make his imaginative play.