Player of the Year
At the beginning of the of the North American Swiss, the Daily
Bulletin announced that Joel Wooldridge needed to gain a little
more than 62 platinum points on the leader to win the ACBL
Player of the Year award. Going into the third day, his team
was leading by a lot, and the other candidates did not reach
the finals of the Reisinger, so that seemed pretty likely.
All they needed to do was reach sixth place.
Some early reversals, however, put his team back in the pack.
Entering the last match, first was out of reach, but a big win
might get them close.
As dealer, Joel held AJ6 KJ10 AK10763 J and opened 1.
LHO bid 2, Micheals; partner bid 3, and RHO jumped
to 4. Joel doubled, of course, and that ended the auction.
He led his singleton and saw a pretty scary dummy.
Declarer, after some thought, rose with the A
and cashed the trump ace. Partner showed out, pitching
a club. After more consideration, declarer abandoned
trumps and led a spade to partner's (upside down) 10,
his K, and Joel's J! When declarer continued
with a second spade, Joel ducked again. Declarer inserted
the 8, so Joel's partner won his 9 and cashed
the K for down one.
By Trick 3, Joel could tell that declarer was 2542 and
that 4 was cold unless somehow partner could get in
to cash his club trick. Unblocking the J and ducking
the A was the only hope the defense had. It might
have given up a doubled overtrick, but this time, it beat
Defeating 4 doubled was just enough for the team
to reach sixth place by a fraction of a victory point, and
that made Joel (unofficially so far) the Player of the Year.
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Goldsmith