Goren Bridge: Reverse Cheating

Published - May 09, 2024 01:03 pm IST

The bridge world has been rocked in recent years with accusations of cheating by some of the world’s top pairs. Today’s deal, from a World Championship team match, shows the game being played the right way.

North opened two diamonds multi, one of the world’s most popular conventions outside of North America. It showed one major and South’s four-club bid asked which one. North’s four-diamond bid showed hearts and South made the obvious bid. West, Sweden’s Fredrik Nystrom, found the only lead to threaten the contract – a spade. South could not take the time to get a club ruff in hand or the defense would negotiate a spade ruff to go with their three aces. East made the necessary play of ducking his ace at trick one, but it took East some time to make his play.

South tried to muddy the waters for the defense by leading the 10 of hearts to dummy’s ace and then cashing the king of hearts. He led a low diamond from dummy, but East rose with his ace and cashed the ace of clubs. Nystrom encouraged clubs, so East continued with a club, ruffed by South. South cashed the king of diamonds and ruffed a diamond in dummy. He drew the last trump and conceded a spade to the defense. Making four! Why had Nystrom encouraged clubs? Had he discouraged, East would have shifted to the ace of spades and defeated the contract with a spade ruff. Nystrom felt that he knew that his partner held the ace of spades from East’s deliberate tempo at trick one. He refused to take advantage of that and therefore encouraged a second club lead. Really well done!

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