[S] 10 9 5
[H] A Q 10 5 4
[D] Q 5 4
[C] J 6
[S] K 6
[H] 6 2
[D] A K 10 7 3
[C] K Q 8 2
[H] K J 9
[D] 9 8 6 2
[C] 10 9 5 4 3
[S] A Q J 8 7 4 3
[H] 8 7 3
[C] A 7
South West North East
1 [S] 1 NT Dble 2 [C]
Opening lead — king of diamonds.
Every regular partnership must make certain to discuss the precise meaning of various defensive signals. This is true for any pair that hopes to achieve the best results possible.
Today’s deal shows what can happen if a pair is not on the same wavelength. Amazingly, the deal occurred in the 1977 world championship match between Australia and Sweden, and involved one of the best pairs of that era.
At the table in question, with a Swedish pair North-South, the bidding went as shown. West (Dick Cummings) led the king of diamonds, on which East (Tim Seres) played the six. Seres was afraid to play the deuce on the king because he thought that might be interpreted as suggesting a club shift.
However, Cummings thought that the six play might be based on the 6-2 doubleton, so he continued with the ace of diamonds. This play ultimately proved fatal.
South ruffed and returned a low trump toward dummy. Cummings went up with the king and then — too late — shifted to the king of clubs. Declarer won with the ace and embarked on a line of play that guaranteed the contract regardless of where the missing heart honors were located.
He led a trump to dummy’s nine, discarded the club seven on the queen of diamonds and ruffed the jack of clubs. Then, having eliminated both minor suits from his own hand and dummy, declarer led a heart and finessed the ten. East won with the jack but was helpless.
Whether he returned a heart, a diamond or a club, declarer would score the rest of the tricks. So the Swedish declarer succeeded in making four spades in a hand where, with best defense, he would have gone down two.
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