Bridge Week in Pasadena used to be one of the largest regionals in the country every year. It ran for ten days straight. Now, it is only six days and about average size.

The 1997 Bridge Week had a very exciting hand in the Wednesday evening pair game.

S: ---
H: A10xxxx
D: 7xx
C: AQ109
S: Qx
H: QJx
D: 10xxx
C: Jxxx
S: xx
H: Kx
D: KQJxx
C: Kxxx
S: AKJ109xxxx
H: xx
D: A
C: x
6C:Dbl7S:All Pass
The bidding needs some explanation. North was embarrassed by his opening bid, so he doubled 3D: to try to slow down the auction. 4NT was key card Blackwood for spades, and 5NT asked for specific kings. 6C: showed the C:K, but so did East's double. Trusting the opponents more than partner, I bid 7S: rather than 7NT, hoping that partner's C:10 was the jack.

West led a small club. Dummy was a bit of a disappointment, and the club lead was even more of one. I won the C:A and played a small club from dummy with an innocent air. Evidentally, their lead conventions were not up to disambiguating my club holding, so East flew with the C:K. After the trump break, it was over. I immediately announced, "I wish there had been a diamond lead. I would have made it honestly then."

The club lead ruined a wonderful and rare end position. After the expected diamond lead, I would have run eight rounds of trumps, leaving

S: ---
H: A
D: --
C: AQ10
S: --
D: ---
C: Jxx
S: ---
H: Kx
D: ---
C: Kxx
S: x
H: xx
D: ---
C: x
Note that each defender has yet to discard on the ninth trick. Neither can successfully. If West discards a club, I'd play a club to the C:A and play the C:Q, pinning the C:J. If East discards a club, I'd ruff the low club, setting up the C:Q. Therefore, they must both discard hearts, making my small heart in hand good.

This is a double trump squeeze with menaces in two suits guarded by both defenders. The "riffle-diffle" club menace makes it work. Too bad there was no diamond lead. These hands come up in alternate decades.

Jeff Goldsmith, jeff@tintin.jpl.nasa.gov, July 10, 1997