Inspired Play

Goren Bridge

Bob Jones

Dlr: South ♠ 10 8 6 5
Vul: E-W Q J 4 3
K 6 2
♣ Q 2
♠ Q J 7 3 ♠ K 4 2
K 8 5
8 7 3 Q 9 5 4
♣ K 8 6 5 ♣ A J 10 4 3
♠ A 9
A 10 9 7 6 2
A J 10
♣ 9 7
South West North East
1 Pass 2 2NT*
Dbl 3♣ 3 Pass
4 All Pass

*Both minors
Opening lead: 7

Today’s deal is from the World Champion Women’s Pairs in 2002. South was Debbie Rosenberg, a leading American expert. She lived in New York for most of her life but relocated to California a few years ago.

The opening diamond lead picked up the queen for declarer, but she would have routinely played East for that card anyway from the auction. There were still two club losers and a spade, so the contract seemed to hinge on a successful heart finesse. East might have held the trump king. East did, in fact, hold the ♠K, and it might just as easily have been the K.

Rosenberg made the inspired decision that East did not hold the K. Backing her judgment with her play, Rosenberg made a brilliant sequence of plays. She refused the free diamond finesse at trick one by rising with dummy’s king. The diamond finesse could be taken later. She then crossed to her hand with the ♠As and led a low heart toward the dummy!

West was in agony. Was Rosenberg really doing this to her, or did her partner hold the singleton A? After long thought, West said “OK, you win” as she played her low heart. Rosenberg had stolen her 10th trick and made her contract. She and her partner, Karen McCallum of New Hampshire, went on the win the World Championship. Well done!