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JUST BRIDGE...

 

CANADIAN CARDING FOILS
GREAT MASTER'S STRATAGEM

 

by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish

 

 When the Spingold Knockout Teams was played in Toronto in 1964, the locals were delighted to see two Canadian teams in the final. Eric Murray-Sami Kehela and Bruce Elliot-Percy "Shorty" Sheardown faced Bruce Gowdy-Ray Jotcham, Fred Hoffer-Marvin Altman. Gowdy, who had won the Spingold in 1949 at the tender age of 19, had been the only Canadian with his name on this cup, but he was about to have some company.

 Today's deal, the last in the semi-final match between the GOWDY and RUSSELL teams, determined the outcome.

Both sides vulnerable; South deals

 

  A 4 2
Q 5
A Q 10 6

10 8 6 3

K 9 8 3
7 4
K 7 4
J 9 7 4
J 6 5
A 2
J 9 8 5 3 2

Q 2

  Q 10 7
K J 10 9 8 6 3

A K 5


 

West North East South
Jotcham BLANK Gowdy V Zedt'z
      1
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass 3
Pass 3 Pass 6
Pass Pass Pass  


 Opening Lead: 9

 Waldemar Von Zedtwitz, one of the great players and personalities of his time, would compete effectively well into his eighties. Not yet seventy when he tackled this unpalatable slam, he gave it a great run and might have brought it home against less thoughtful defense.

 Waldy got a helpful low spade lead from Jotcham, and took Gowdy's jack with the queen. He cashed the
A and played a trump to the queen and ace. The 6 was covered by the seven, eight, and ace. Realising that the defenders would never go wrong after he showed out on the A, declarer stranded his diamond winner in dummy and ran all his hearts, playing like a man with a diamond in his hand.

 This subtle play (which is known as a "Pseudo Squeeze") created a potential discarding problem for West, who might have believed that he had to keep diamonds. East set out to save his partner by making a couple of clear and revealing discards. After West parted with a spade safely, East gave count in diamonds by playing the nine, showing an even number. Then, after West gave up a diamond, East discarded the
Q to warn his partner to keep a club guard.

 West discarded a club and his remaining diamonds, which was the best he could do. Declarer exited with a spade and West had to lead from the
J into declarers split tenace to yield an eleventh trick, but the slam was defeated and the GOWDY team had earned a place in the final, where they bowed to their countrymen the next day.

 Remarkably, the MURRAY team won Spingold again the following year, and to this day no other four-man team has ever successfully defended a Spingold title.

 Both Gowdy and Jotcham did not compete seriously for many years, but they have rekindled their partnership flame in the past year and seem to be playing very effectively

 Although the spade lead gave declarer a second fast trick in spades, it did not give away the contract. A diamond lead would have been fatal for the defense. Declarer finesses the queen, and cashes the ace, discarding a club and a spade. When he knocks out the trump ace, the defenders cannot break spades. Declarer wins any return and runs trumps, cashing the high clubs on the way. West cannot keep both the
J and two spades.