3rd Annual Caltech-UCLA Pro-Am

On Saturday, January 30th, 13 of the area's best players visited Caltech for the third running of the Caltech-UCLA Pro-Am. The game was as an IMP individual with Pros playing in a different direction than the Ams. Mike Shuster, an undergraduate student at UCLA, won the event by two IMPs over Ed Davis, who led the Pros. Mike is also a member of the United States' 2nd Junior team and will compete in the World Junior Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark, in August. After the game, several of the pros stayed around for a panel show and discussed the boards over pizza.

Thanks to Ed Davis, Alan LeBendig, Beverly Rosenberg, Stelios Touchtides, Tom Oakley, Danny Kleinman, Eddie Kantar, David Weiss, Gene Freed, Grant Baze, Leni Holtz, Jan Cohen, and Syd Levey for graciously donating their time and participating in this event. Thanks, also, to Peter Knee who directed the game so smoothly that no problems occurred at all.

The most interesting hand was board 18:

S: J65
H: A653
D: K852
C: 94
S: Q109873
H: J
D: QJ3
S: 42
H: Q102
D: 1096
C: 108762
H: K9874
D: A74
C: K53
Even though 3NT looks better than 4H:, especially on a spade lead, only one pair managed to get there. That South opened a 16-18 1NT. Everyone else felt that the South hand was too strong for a 15-17 1NT and had auctions similar to the one described above.

Most got the lead of the D:Q, won in hand with the Ace. Some Easts signaled with the Ten, making the diamond situation much clearer for partner. Declarer had several lines available, most requiring a defensive error. The panel decided that the best line was attempted by Stelios Touchtides, who drew two rounds of trumps, cashed the high spades, and crossed to the D:K in dummy. He played the S:J and pitched his losing diamond from hand, hoping to endplay West if he had been dealt 6-1-2-4 distribution. Not this time. Other declarers cashed the other high diamond from dummy early and ruffed the S:J. When West failed to unblock diamonds, he was thrown in with a diamond to give a ruff and discard or to lead clubs. This had the merit of working when the defense slipped.

I thought that diamonds were 4-2, and that neither of those lines would work, so I drew two rounds of trump and exited with a third. East played a spade and I won the King, trying to show West the S:AK. When I continued with a low club from hand, West assumed that I did not have the King, but might have tenaces in either pointed suit (his partner failed to play the D:10 at trick one.) He continued with three rounds of clubs, which I won in hand. On the run of the trumps, East continued to fail to appreciate the value of his diamond spots and discarded one, allowing me to criss-cross squeeze his partner in the pointed suits. The last trick was won by the D:7 for a beer.

Copyright © 1993 Jeff Goldsmith