THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THE ALTERNATIVE GREAT JUNIOR PLAY
The International Bridge Press Association jury does a tough job in choosing the annual award winners in four categories: bidding, declarer play, defense and juniors.
This deal, which would have been my junior winner, could have also been in the declarer-play list. South was Adam Kaplan of New Port Richie, Fla.
In the auction, one club showed 16-plus points; four clubs was a control-bid (cue-bid); four spades was Roman Key-Card Blackwood; five clubs indicated one key-card (an ace or the heart king); five clubs asked for the heart queen; and six hearts showed that card and denied a side-suit king.
After winning with dummy’s spade ace, declarer cashed the heart ace. When East dropped the 10, South deduced that hearts were 3-1. He cashed dummy’s club king, played a club to his ace, and led his last spade.
If West had found the best defense, discarding a diamond, declarer would have won with dummy’s spade king and led another spade, discarding his remaining diamond — the key play. Probably East would have led a spade, but Kaplan would have ruffed high, played a diamond to dummy’s ace, ruffed dummy’s diamond seven, and crossruffed the rest of the tricks.
Instead, West trumped the second spade and returned his third heart. Kaplan claimed, saying that he would discard his last diamond on dummy’s spade king and ruff his two low clubs on the board.
Brilliant, especially for someone who was only 16 years old.