Goren bridge: Some writers can play

December 28, 2023 02:05 pm | Updated 02:06 pm IST

South in today’s deal was Barry Rigal, of New York. Rigal is, perhaps, the most prolific bridge writer in the world. He is also an expert player. He played this deal on a recent visit to Australia, where men are men and they like to bid. Rigal bid the South hand like a native Aussie.

The defense started with two rounds of clubs. Rigal discarded a spade on the second club as dummy’s king won the trick. Rigal ruffed a spade, cashed the ace of hearts, and led another heart. West won and led the queen of spades. Dummy’s ace won the trick as Rigal shed a low diamond. Rigal ruffed another spade and took some time to think.

The play so far made it look like East started with four spades. Rigal reasoned that East’s original distribution was probably 4-1-2-6. Has East started with 4-1-3-5 shape, he would likely have made a takeout double rather than an overcall. West had shown up with so much already that Rigal placed East with the ace of diamonds.

Rigal made the excellent play of leading the queen of diamonds from his hand. East was helpless. Should East duck, Rigal would duck a diamond in both hands, losing to the now singleton ace. East could not profit by winning. Even if East held a low diamond instead of the nine, the king of diamonds would be an entry to ruff another spade, setting up dummy’s long spade for the tenth trick. Very nicely played!

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