Bridge - The Scotsman 29/12/2011

The International Bridge Press Association gives an annual award for the best Junior deal of the year, won in 2011 by Cedric Lorenzini and Christophe Grosset of France at the 5th World University Bridge Championships.

They combined in defence to mislead declarer into going down in a cold contract.

After a strong no-trump opener and a simple transfer sequence West became declarer in 3NT. North led his fourth highest spade, and declarer played the jack from dummy. Lorenzini began the good work by not covering with the queen – had he done so declarer would have an entry to dummy by winning the ace and later leading towards the ten. When the jack of spades scored declarer had seven top tricks and looked to develop two extra tricks in hearts. He led a low heart to his jack – and North ducked in tempo! If he wins the queen, declarer has four hearts and his contract. Double dummy declarer can now make an overtrick by finessing the ten of hearts – but that would be a silly play if South held the queen, as the play to this point suggested. Declarer cashed the ace and king of hearts, but could make only three heart tricks. He tried a club, but South won the king and cleared spades and the contract had to go down.

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Most impressive is that North made his deceptive play smoothly enough to deceive declarer. If he had thought before playing a low heart West would have been able to play double dummy after all.