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1600 Games XXXIII: A Grand Finale, part one


The evening was drawing to a close with the scores a virtual deadlock. With two deals to go, Bar called his wife aside.

“Baby, we've got to do something to make sure we win the match,” he said. “Let's look for a big hand, a 'dagger,' as they say in the NBA, that will settle things once and for all.”

'Chelle nodded agreement. “You're right, hon. Our guests are nice, but we gotta show them who's in control around here. Let's go for the gold...”

The opportunity to do just that arose immediately. 'Chelle opened 1 in the South seat, and pressed on towards the slam zone on hearing her pard's 2 response, wheeling out Ole Black to check for aces. When Bar promised two bullets and a king, she roared straight into 7 no-trump, assuming that her Q would solidify the suit so that it would run.

“You said to be aggressive, sugar, so aggressive I will be,” she said. “Thirteen tricks is as golden as it gets.

Bar
65
A942
AK987
J4
'Chelle
AKQJ32
Q8
Q3
A72
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
5NT
P
6
P
7NT
P
P
P

Hilly led the K. Surveying the dummy, 'Chelle's prospects seemed good. If the enemy's diamonds were 3-3 the grand would roll in with six spades, five diamonds and the two rounded aces.

There was no need, however, to put the diamonds to the test immediately. She won the lead of the club king and proceeded to cash her high spades. Here was the position on the sixth round of the boss suit. 

Hilly
K5
J1054
Q
Bar
A
AK987
J
Willy
J107
6
865
'Chelle
2
Q8
Q3
72
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
5N
P
6
P
7N
P
P
P
D
7NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0


Hilly, sitting West, looked carefully at her cards. Discarding the Q was unthinkable. A diamond pitch was just as bad. Her only chance: Bare the K, in the (vain) hope that Willy, whose fondness for the ladies was famous, held the queen. So Hilly pitched the 5.

“Diamond please,” said 'Chelle.

“Are you sure you want to throw a diamond?” asked Bar. “If the suit breaks...”

“I said diamond, if you please,” insisted his wife, who had noticed the discomfort of the lady on her left.

Next came a small heart to the ace, felling Hilly's K. And a diamond to the queen in 'Chelle's hand. “She turned to Hilly. “Now I'm playing the queen of hearts, and I reckon you are squeezed in the minors,” she said.

After Hilly conceded, Bar congratulated his wife. “The diamonds didn't break, I would have gone down on the hand. Well played...”

The full deal:

Hilly
9
K653
J1054
KQ109
Bar
65
A942
AK987
J4
Willy
10874
J107
62
8653
'Chelle
AKQJ32
Q8
Q3
A72
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
5N
P
6
P
7N
P
P
P
D
7NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

“Actually I misplayed the hand,” replied 'Chelle. “I should cash the ace of hearts before I run the spades. The squeeze card is played one trick later, but I don't have to guess whether Hilly had bared the king of hearts and discard a diamond from dummy. What's it called, a Viennese coup?”

“Not exactly,” coughed Willy. “It's a Vienna Coup.”

“She may not know the name, but she surely knows how to execute it,” said Bar. “I know things are pretty much settled, but let's get on to the last hand. As I reckon things, you need a grand to beat us.”

To be continued...

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