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  S:AJ6 H:KJ10 D:AK10763 C:J and opened 1D:. LHO bid 2D:, Micheals; partner bid 3C:, and RHO jumped to 4H:. Joel doubled, of course, and that ended the auction.

He led his singleton and saw a pretty scary dummy.

S: Q8743
H: A8743
C: AQ9
S: AJ6
H: KJ10
D: AK10763
C: J
DoubleAll Pass
Declarer, after some thought, rose with the C: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) S:10, his S:K, and Joel's S:J! When declarer continued with a second spade, Joel ducked again. Declarer inserted the S:8, so Joel's partner won his S:9 and cashed the C:K for down one.

By Trick 3, Joel could tell that declarer was 2542 and that 4H: was cold unless somehow partner could get in to cash his club trick. Unblocking the S:J and ducking the S:A was the only hope the defense had. It might have given up a doubled overtrick, but this time, it beat the contract.

Defeating 4H: 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