THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
A DEAL THAT WAS OVERLOOKED
It is inevitable that a meritorious deal or two will be missed by the person choosing the short lists for the annual International Bridge Press Association awards.
If this deal had been on the defense list, it might well have won.
It occurred during the Italian Club Championship in September 2012 (which was too late for the 2012 awards). Sitting West was Agustin Madala, one of the world’s most talented players, who was born in Argentina but represents Italy. It was originally reported by Ana Roth from Argentina.
In the auction, I am not sure about North’s double, which would usually be negative showing length in both minors.
Defending against four hearts, Madala led the spade jack, Rusinow, promising the queen. South won with dummy’s ace and would have done best to start trumps, but he played a club to his ace.
West saw that if he were on lead, he would sacrifice a trick with whatever he led. So he discarded a spade.
Declarer cashed his top heart. West, still not wanting the lead, threw his king under the ace.
South now led a low heart. West continued his brilliant work by playing low. East, Norberto Bocchi, won with his jack and shifted to the diamond queen. Declarer could have escaped for down one by playing low on this trick and on East’s diamond-jack continuation. But in desperation, he covered the queen. West won with his ace, cashed the heart queen, and continued diamonds. The defenders took two hearts and three diamonds for down two.