The Real Deal


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The ones we should get right

This deal was (mis)played by a Southwestern expert (and national champion) who shall remain nameless. Can we all make a New Year’s resolution to get the deals right that we should get right?

With both sides vulnerable, his partner dealt and opened 2NT. Responder held:

♠10 8 4 3 2   —  A 7 5 4 3 2  ♣A 4

He transferred to spades and then bid 4. This is natural (showing at least 5–4 in spades and diamonds) with slam interest. Opener bid 4.

What’s that? Likely some sort of slam interest – certainly not a signoff. Responder didn’t know what to do next (Blackwood with a void is generally a poor idea), so he just guessed to jump to 6. Everyone passed and the Q was led:

North
♠ A Q 7
A 2
K Q 9 8 6
♣ K Q 6
South
♠ 10 8 4 3 2
A 7 5 4 3 2
♣ A 4

Opener did well to leave you in diamonds instead of trying for a slightly higher score in 6♠. With the shaky spade suit, 6♠ might fail, while 6 is actually 100%. Can you see how?

This is one of those draw trump, strip the hand and claim deals. Yet, our anti-hero messed it up. He ruffed the opening lead and played a diamond to the king (trumps were 1–1). He cashed three clubs, throwing a spade, and then the A throwing another spade. He came to hand with the A and led a spade to the … queen. Ugh. All he had to do was cover whatever spade left-hand opponent played and claim on an endplay. This was the Real Deal:

Dlr:
North
Vul:
Both
North
♠ A Q 7
A 2
K Q 9 8 6
♣ K Q 6
West
♠ J 9 5
Q J 10 8 7
10
♣ J 5 3 2
East
♠ K 6
K 9 6 5 4 3
J
♣ 10 9 8 7
South
♠ 10 8 4 3 2
A 7 5 4 3 2
♣ A 4

As you can see, the ♠Q lost to the king and back came a spade. Down one. In my mind, this is an easy one. However, if a national champion could go wrong, I suppose so could you.