Solution of a travel problem

February 28, 1966

Getting there, as the Cunard agents say, is half the fun, and nobody has reason to know this better than tournament bridge players—in more ways than one. Since the first world team championship was held in Bermuda in 1950, that British island has become one of the favorite sites for major bridge events. Players like to go there. Although the recent Bermuda regional championship was preceded by a record snowstorm on the U.S. East Coast, this did not stop 500 competitors who persisted through airport delays and braved icy runways to arrive in time for the first deal.

Determination, however, will not solve all of a bridge player's transportation troubles. Here is a hand from that Bermuda tournament in which the whole problem is finding a way to get to the dummy. It is a bridge equivalent of holding a ticket on a grounded airplane.

South was my old friend Sonny Moyse, editor of The Bridge World magazine. His opening two-club bid was artificial and strength-showing. North's two-diamond response was also artificial, indicating a hand of less than one ace and one king or three kings in high-card values. The fact that North had a diamond suit was coincidental.

South's rebid of two no trump announced a balanced hand with a point-count limitation of 23 or 24. As most experts play the opening two-club bid, it is forcing only to two no trump or three of a major if partner has a worthless hand. North's hand was easily worth a raise to three no trump, but South's weakness, the lack of a third diamond, was going to make it extremely difficult to succeed at that contract.

Fortunately for declarer, West opened a low spade. This is the correct lead from such a holding, although leading a spade honor would have defeated this contract.

South won with the 10 and began looking for a way to get three diamond tricks. He led a low club to dummy's jack. East took this with the queen of clubs and returned his last spade, won by South's king. The king and queen of diamonds were cashed, and South led a club toward dummy, hoping that the 10 would get him to the diamond ace. However, East killed dummy's 10 with the ace and shifted to the 9 of hearts. Declarer won with the ace, noting that West signaled with the 7.

Next South cashed the king of clubs and got the bad news that he would be unable to win another club trick. A recount showed three spades, two hearts, one club and only two diamonds, still one short of his bid unless South could get to dummy's diamond ace.

At this point Moyse made the vital play. He led the jack of hearts. A low heart lead would have allowed East to win the trick, cash his high club and get out with his last heart, leaving South with a second heart trick to lose. But the jack of hearts play pinned the lead on West, who won with the queen and returned a spade, with East discarding a diamond. Moyse won the trick, cashed the king of hearts to remove East's last card in that suit and then led his last club to put East in and solve the transportation problem. East had to win and give North the game by leading to the ace of diamonds.

Both side vulnerable South dealer

NORTH

[9 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[5 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]
[Jack of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]

WEST

[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[7 of Diamonds]
[6 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]

SOUTH

[Ace of Spades]
[King of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[King of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[King of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]

EAST

[8 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[9 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[Ace of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]

SOUTH

2 [Club]
2 N.T.
PASS

WEST

PASS
PASS
PASS

NORTH

2 [Diamond]
3 N.T.

EAST

PASS
PASS

Opening lead: 6 of spades

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)