Paul Soloway was ACBL’s leading masterpoint holder for more than a decade before his death in 2007. He accumulated more than 65,000 masterpoints — the equivalent of making Life Master 200 times!
You don’t win so many masterpoints without consummate skill, which he demonstrated more
than 30 years ago in winning a major pairs championship.
West led a low heart, and Soloway (sitting South) ruffed the second round of the suit. Figuring West had the ♠K because of East’s weak two-bid, Soloway started off well by leading a low spade toward the queen at trick three. West won the ♠K and continued the suit. Soloway drew exactly two rounds of trumps and cashed the ♠A, pitching a club from dummy. His plan was to avoid guessing which opponent held the ♣Q, but when East discarded a heart on the third round of spades, Soloway correctly deduced that East’s shape was 2-5-2-4.
Soloway might have gone with the odds and played East for the ♣Q — with four clubs to West’s two, East was twice as likely to have the missing honor — but he found a better way.
Soloway knew he could not discard another of dummy’s clubs on the ♠J, then play the top two clubs and ruff a club in dummy. West, known to have only two clubs, would ruff in with the ♦J to defeat the contract. Instead, Soloway played the good ♠J and ruffed with dummy’s last trump. East had to discard a club — a heart pitch would have allowed Soloway to ruff another heart, setting up dummy’s 9 for trick 11.
After ruffing his ♠J in dummy, Soloway ruffed a heart to hand and played his last diamond to put unbearable pressure on East, who was down to three cards, one of which had to be the ♥J.
Once both hands were known to be down to two clubs, Soloway simply cashed the ♣A and the ♣K, not caring which player dropped the queen, which he knew was going to happen.
The full deal: