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Three Deals from the USBC Semifinals
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My team (John Diamond-Brian Platnick, Ron Smith-myself)had a good run in the USBC, reaching the semifinals and losing a close match toFLEISHER. There were plenty of deals I could have won the match on, but here are a few of the bright spots for the team.

First, a deal from the second eighth:

Fleisher
1043
A653
J104
532
Smith
KJ76
7
K3
AQJ1084
Martel
AQ82
J1094
A95
96
Kriegel
95
KQ82
Q8762
K7
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
2
2
2NT
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
26
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Fleisher led the 10, Rusinow, and dummy's king lost to Martel's ace. Martel shifted to the J, covered by the queen and ace, and Fleisher returned a heart to the nine and king. At this point, Martel was marked with the high spades and the 10, so he would come under pressure on the run of dummy's clubs.

I ran my winners, reducing to:

West
103
5
J4
North
KJ7
3
4
East
AQ
104
9
South
9
82
Q8
D
26

On the last club, East and I discarded diamonds. Then, a diamond to the queen squeezed East in the majors, letting me throw him in in one suit to give me a trick in the other. He threw a spade in practice, so the 8 was my ninth trick.

The defense could have prevailed in a number of ways. West could have ducked the first round of hearts or switched to spades after winning the A. East could have led his low heart, rather than the J. There is no way I would have played the 8.

The next deal comes from the third segment:

Martel
1097
K7
Q10652
Q63
Smith
6532
10
AJ73
A954
Fleisher
AKQ84
J954
4
J82
Kriegel
J
AQ8632
K98
K107
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
1
2
2
P
P
X
P
2N
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
5
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

At the helm in a precarious Moysian fit, I received the 10 lead to the queen, and Fleisher returned the K, which I ruffed. Needing some luck, I led a diamond to the jack, holding, and a second diamond. Fleisher ruffed and tapped me again in spades. The position was:

Martel
K7
Q105
Q63
North
6
10
A7
A954
Fleisher
84
J954
J8
South
AQ8632
K
K
D
5

The actuallayout seemed like my only chance to make, so I played for it. I cashed the K, played A, heart ruff and was gratified to see the K pop up. I cashed dummy's A, crossed to the K, and played the Q. Martel only scored his high trump. Making four: +130.

My final exhibit was from the fifth eighth:

Greco
95
J10
8763
J7654
Smith
AKJ102
982
AK9
A9
Hampson
Q863
A5
J1042
KQ2
Kriegel
74
KQ7643
Q5
1083
W
N
E
S
 
1
1
P
2
P
2
P
4
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
6
P
P
P
D
2
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Ron faked a splinter, then after finding me with one keycard, bid slam without checking on the Q. Bidding 5 would have given Hampson a chance not to double for a diamond lead, making it more likely Greco would have found the killing club lead. Ron's ploy worked: Greco led a diamond.

I won in dummy, led a heart to the king, crossed to a spade, and led another heart. Hampsoncontinued diamonds, leaving me enough entries to ruff out spades and ensure the contract. If he had shifted to clubs, I would have relied on the ruffing finesse in spades.

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