Source: The Sydney Morning Herald – 22 Oct 1989
Dick Cummings
Dick Cummings
ACES and kings are jolly good things but today’s column features the important role of an honour card slightly lower down the line, the jack. In expert circles, the opening lead of this card from a holding of J10 doubleton, or from a longer suit headed by the J109 or J108, is well in favour. By the same token, the lead of the jack from a combination of jack-small is regarded as one of the most dangerous in the book. Its most likely result will be to mangle the defence’s assets in the suit. When you’re running hot, though, anything works. The effectiveness of Brazil’s opening leads in Perth was wonderful to behold. During the morning of the last day of the final, when the United States hoped for a comeback, Gabriel Chagas picked up a sample of the aforesaid dangerous combination, namely a doubleton J2. Dealer North; E/W Vul
9 8 3 10 A K J 8 5 4 K 10 9
J 2 6 4 2 9 3 Q 8 7 6 5 3 A 6 5 4 K Q 9 7 2 A J 4 2
K Q 10 7 A J 8 7 6 3 Q 10 6
West North East South
Chagas Lawrence Branco Woolsey
1 Dbl 1
Pass 2 Pass 4°
Pass 4 Pass 4
Pass Pass Pass
°’Intended as a splinter an support of diamonds.
Gabriel Chagas (BRZ)
Gabriel Chagas (BRZ)
Michael Lawrence and Kit Woolsey, who had trouble finding their best form at these world championships, got to the wrong contract. However, the lie of the cards was friendly. The game in hearts was going to succeed on any lead but a spade. No need to ask. Chagas led the jack of spades. This allowed Marcelo Branco to give him a ruff. Apart from the ruff, E/W made two natural trump tricks plus the ace of spades. Down one. In the other room, Roberto Mello and Pedro Branco flirted with the slam in diamonds, eventually deciding to stay in 5. Their score of 420 was still good enough to pick up 10 imps. The second exhibit is from the local pairs scene. North and South, a mixed partnership who shall remain nameless, needed only an average score on the last deal to win the event in question. What happened recalls a familiar rhyme: Jack and Jill bid up at will Nothing could have been dafter Jack went down. they lost their crown Jill came mumbling after. Dealer South All vulnerable
7 6 3 8 6 5 A K 5 4 2 9 5
10 8 5 2 J 10 9 7 2 3 A Q 7 J 9 4 K Q J 9 6 K J 10 3 2
A K Q A 4 3 Q 10 8 7 8 6 4
West North East South
Pass 3NT Pass Pass
The opening lead this time was a normal jack, the jack of hearts from a J109 sequence. Since a club switch would do mortal damage, declarer won the ace of hearts at the speed of light. Next came a diamond to the ace, followed by a diamond to the queen. Dummy was re-entered with the king of diamonds. Declarer, hitherto in good humour, suddenly realised the horrible truth:
7 6 3 8 6 5 4 9 5
10 8 10 9 7 2 A Q 7 J 9 4 K K J 10 3 2
A K Q 4 3 10 8 6 4
Diamonds were blocked! All he could make was eight tricks. Minus 100 proved to be a 25 percent board, meaning relegation to second place. And what was Jill mumbling about afterwards? About a jack … of course. “Did you think of finessing in diamonds?” She had seen that, at trick three, the insertion of the 10 of diamonds, an apparently unnecessary finesse against East’s jack, would have won the tournament. That way, the queen of diamonds would have been preserved to win the fourth trick, freeing dummy’s ace and 5 to win the fifth and sixth tricks. Then the AKQ of spades would have wrapped up 3NT.