Different Paths

Goren Bridge


Bob Jones

Dlr: North ♠ 7 2
Vul: E-W 5
A K 10 9 5 3
♣ K Q J 2
♠ J 5 ♠ K Q 10 9
10 8 7  3 K J 6 4
Q J 8 4 6
♣ A 8 6 ♣ 10 7 4 3
♠ A 8 6 4 3
A Q 9 2
7 2
♣ 9 5
North East South West
1 Pass 1♠ Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
3♣ Pass 3NT All Pass

Opening lead: 3

Today’s deal is from a high-level team competition some years ago. At both tables, the heart opening lead went to the king and ace, and a low diamond was led to dummy’s 10. Joy turned to disappointment when East showed out on the K. Not wanting to make two discards, declarer led a low diamond from dummy while shedding a spade from his hand.

West won his diamond trick and was at the crossroads. At one table, the expert West player continued the attack on hearts. South captured East’s jack with the queen and led a club. He had his contract when the defense was unable to take more than two heart tricks.

At the other table, David Berkowitz, of Boca Raton, Florida, was West. The auction told him that his partner did not hold five hearts, so continuing the attack on hearts would not give the defense enough winners to defeat the contract. Berkowitz shifted to the ♠J, which his partner, Larry Cohen, overtook with the queen. Had declarer ducked this trick, Cohen would have reverted to hearts, ultimately defeating the contract. South won the first spade, hoping for a 3-3 split in the suit or a blockage of some kind, and led a club. Berkowitz stepped up with his ace and led his remaining spade to defeat the contract. Nice shift!