Source: IBPA

Richard Freeman Junior Deal of the Year
Winner: Christian Bakke (Norway)
Journalist: GeO Tislevoll (New Zealand)
Article: Spotlight on the Spade 2
Event: 2019 Scandic Maritim Cup, Haugesund, Norway
Source: IBPA Bulletin 658, November 2019, p. 12

Spotlight on the Spades 2 by GeO Tislevoll (NZ)

Dealer East E/W VUL

A 10 9 7 6 5 2
A 9 2
A 6
K
Q J 4 3
K J 7 6 4
3
A 8 6
8
10 8 3
K Q J 9 7 5
9 5 2
K
Q 5
10 8 4 2
Q J 10 7 4 3
West North East South
Nesdal Bakke Rekstad Ekren
Pass Pass
1 4 End

East led the king of diamonds. The good news was that the trump king was still in dummy as an entry but, when Bakke won the first trick with the diamond ace and played the club king, West found the best defence by ducking. If West takes the king of clubs with the ace, declarer will be able to enter dummy to cash two club tricks. He will get two quick discards for red-suit losers before the fourth round of clubs puts pressure on West. If West ruffs in, he will lose one of his trump tricks. If he doesn’t, North’s last red-suit loser will disappear, so it would have been ten tricks either way. When West ducked the king of clubs, the loss of a club trick for the defence looked like a good exchange for three defensive red-suit winners. Together with two trump tricks, that would have set the contract two tricks. One for three is not bad, but it was not to be.

Geo Tislevoll
Geo Tislevoll

Bakke saw that, to make the contract at that point, West must have no more diamonds and be the victim of an endplay. After the club king won the trick, Bakke played the spade five to the king. The club queen was covered by the ace and ruffed with the spade six. Without the carefully kept trump deuce an endplay might still work if West is not on the ball. After ruffing out the club ace, declarer plays the spade ace and another, and West gets two trump tricks with his queen-jack before he must lead away from his heart king (or play a club). The declarer gets an entry to dummy to enjoy the clubs for red-suit discards.

However, West can make another sacrifice by unblocking big spades, giving up one of his two trump tricks. The defender wants to exit with the spade three to force declarer to play the rest from North with two heart losers and a diamond loser; one down. West’s giving up one of his trump tricks — one trick — gives the defenders three more tricks! But Bakke was prepared for such an unblock. The carefully kept trump deuce ensured that West had no move to beat the contract. This was the position, if West had unblocked trumps:

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

8

10 8 3
Q J 9 7
9

Q 5
10 8
J 10 7 4

North plays the trump ten; West wins and tries to exit with the three, but North follows with the two! As the play went, Bakke made 11 tricks by losing only two trump tricks. If, double-dummy, you saw at once that the spade two was the most important card on this deal, you are a very strong player. Bakke saw it at the table, only seeing the North and South cards. Don’t be surprised if you hear more of Christian Bakke in the coming years.

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