THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
IN A GOULASH DEAL, VOIDS GALORE
First, a happy and healthy New Year to all of my readers.
When you play Chicago and everybody passes, it can be fun to have a goulash (or ghoulie). Each player sorts his hand: spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs. The cards are stacked, cut once, and dealt in groups. (I like 4-3-3-3/3-4-3-3/3-3-4-3/3-3-3-4, but some people prefer 5-5-5-5/5-5-5-5/3-3-3-3.) Long suits abound, and bidding must be adjusted because most suits will break something-zero.
This deal occurred during one of my play classes after a passout. South opened four spades. West, the most cautious player in the group, characteristically passed. He should have overcalled four no-trump, showing a two-suited hand. This would presumably have resulted in a final contract of five hearts by East after five clubs – five diamonds (both red suits) – five hearts. No doubt South would have doubled and the likely result would have been down one.
The play in four spades was fascinating. West led the diamond ace and East discarded the club two. South ruffed, cashed the spade ace, and continued with the spade queen, throwing diamonds from the board. East won and shifted to the heart king, which declarer brilliantly ducked.
South took the next heart trick with his ace and played three more rounds of spades, giving East the lead when he had only clubs left. He had to bring the dummy to life, and declarer’s three remaining hearts evaporated. Contract made!
Did you see East’s resource? Under the spade ace, he should have kept the spade two. Then when South led the fifth spade, trying for the endplay, East would have been able to underplay with his two, leaving South on lead, forced to lose three more heart tricks and go down two.