• a reference site for bridge


One day I found myself sitting against the great American pro Mark Lair (who was playing with a client), and this entertaining deal came up:


IMP-15            Partner            
Board 510-
A75
ClientKQJ94Lair
J4KQJT2AK976532
JT9632
A876Me-
94SQT88765
HKQ84
DT532
CA3


Me  
Pass
Dbl
Pass
All Pass
Client  
Pass
Pass
Pass

Partner  
1C(?)
4NT(?)
5C

Lair  
4S
Dbl
Dbl


Lair led the SK, which my partner ruffed. The contract is cold if North just draws trumps and knocks out the DA. The defense can take at most one spade and one diamond, since dummy's spade holding acts as a stopper. But declarer proceeded to draw three rounds of trumps, pitching the ST from dummy. He continued with a diamond to the ten and ace, Lair pitching his heart. With the client on lead, Armageddon loomed:


         Partner        
-
A75
ClientKQJ9Lair
JTA976532
JT963-
86Me-
-SQ8
HKQ84
D532
C-


You can see now what happens if West returns a spade. If North ruffs, Lair ruffs the next trick and runs all his spades for down 5! If North refuses to ruff, Lair of course overtakes the SJ and continues spades to knock out North's last club. But West returned...a diamond! Lair ruffed, but that was the end of the defense. Making 5 doubled, 550, was only worth 4.97 IMPs because some people were making 6D. It will be a while before I see another declarer and defender give and take five (doubled!) tricks to each other on one board. ("Here, you take them." "No, no, I insist they're yours." "I can't accept, you take them....")