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Checkmate at a little no-trump slam

Aug. 02, 1971
Aug. 02, 1971

Table of Contents
Aug. 2, 1971

Yesterday
Three Rivers
Bowling
White Magic
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Departments

Checkmate at a little no-trump slam

Chess and bridge are so demanding that no one could possibly find time for the intensive study required for grand-master status in both games. For example, Bobby Fischer (page 18) never plays bridge, and I am considerably less than expert in front of a chessboard.

This is an article from the Aug. 2, 1971 issue Original Layout

In the argument over which game is the greater test of intellect, the chess man points out that his game involves no element of luck. Both contestants start with equal forces and must maneuver those forces within the finite area of 64 squares. Given proper programming, it is possible that a computer could become the world's best chess player. Postgame analysis usually reveals where the chess loser made the wrong moves, and the computer could be taught to avoid such errors. The player with the best moves cannot fail in chess; in bridge, however, the odds may fly in the luck of the deal. The greatest similarity between the two games is the need for the player to measure forces and to look further ahead than his opponents do.

All of which may be a wandering preamble to this deal as a test of your power to look into the future, your power to assay the actions of your opponents and to overcome the danger that instinct tells you may exist.

When your partner makes a two-club response to your no trump, asking you to show a four-card major, usually you should ignore an opposing overcall and bid a major suit if you can. But when you have both majors and the overcall is in one of them, it is advisable to double; there is no better way to expose a possible psychic overcall in a fake suit. If your double does not suit partner's plan, he can overrule—as, in this case, he does.

North might cue-bid hearts as a takeout of your double, but I agree that his hand is best described by the jump to four clubs. Now South shows his four-card spade suit as previously requested, and North jumps to six spades, spearing East on the horns of a dilemma. If he passes and partner leads a heart, there would seem little chance of defeating six spades. But when East makes a Lightner slam double, asking for an unusual lead—most often the first suit bid by dummy—he warns South that a club opening is likely to be trumped and opens the way to a successful retreat to six no trump. But it will be successful only if South is ready to execute a double squeeze which is, when you think about it, more or less marked, by the bidding.

East wins the heart ace and shifts to a low diamond. If the clubs split, you have 12 tricks on top, so you must plan to win against a possibility—almost a certainty by the bidding—that West has five clubs. You know East has the queen of hearts, so you can time your play to win the 12th trick in your weakest suit, diamonds!

Win the second trick in your hand with the ace of diamonds. Test the clubs and find that they are not breaking, as you had expected. So cash the four good clubs and three spades, ending in your hand. This is now your position:

NORTH

[7 of Spades]
[— of Hearts]
[King of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[7 of Clubs]

EAST

[— of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[10 of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[— of Clubs]

SOUTH

[Queen of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[7 of Diamonds]
[— of Clubs]

WEST

[— of Spades]
[2 of Hearts]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[10 of Clubs]

On the last spade lead, East must let go a diamond or give you two heart tricks. Check! West can let go the 2 of hearts, but now you cash the king of hearts. If West throws a diamond, dummy pitches the club. If he throws the club, dummy lets go a diamond. Mate!

ILLUSTRATION

Neither side vulnerable South dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

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

SOUTH

[King of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]

EAST

[10 of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[10 of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

1 N.T.
DOUBLE
4 [Spade]
6 N.T.

WEST

PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

NORTH

2 [Club]
4 [Club]
6 [Spade]
PASS

EAST

2 [Heart]
PASS
DOUBLE
PASS

Opening lead: 7 of hearts