Tenerife hands (24) - A possible line


Today morning the Greek team had another disaster, losing 8-22 to Spain, in the wake of the yesterday very mediocre results. But in the afternoon they staged an impressive recovery, beating Sweden 25 to 4 (it seems to me that a 25-win against mighty Sweden should score more than a 25-win against, say, Liechtenstein). So now with eight matches to go Greece is fourth, but with a mere 10 VPs from 6th-placed Norway. (France is 5th). I still am crossing my fingers.

This was the last board of the victorious Greek match.

Board 20, West dealer, both vul.

                        K Q J 4
                        K Q 7 3 2
                        10 9 8
                         J

9 5                                  10 8 7 6 3
A 6                                  J 10 9 5
Q 7 6 3 2                          K 5
Q 6 3 2                            10 4

                      A 2
                      8 4
                      A J 4
                      A K 9 8 7 5
At the overwhelming majority of the tables, this was played at 3NT, usually by South and made with a varying number of overtricks. The Greeks made only one overtrick but they gained heavily because the Swedes went at 4H by North.

"But 4H also makes", you may say. Declarer is going to lose one diamond and two trump tricks. The defence may engineer a diamond ruff, but it comes at the expense of a trump trick. Still, Bertheau, the Swedish declarer, went *two* down at 4H. I don't know how the play went, but I strongly suspect the following line:

Thanos Kapayannides, the Greek East, led the king of diamonds (this I know for sure from the hand records; and it was a brilliant lead). Declarer wins and, fearing the diamond ruff, tries to shed a diamond or two on the spades. However, Liarakos at West ruffs the third spade with the six, cashes his queen of diamonds, plays a third diamond and East ruffs with the nine. Back comes another spade, ruffed by West with the ace, and East has another trump to make. Down two!

Certainly an unlucky lie for the Swedes, but 13 IMPs to the Greeks and a sorely-needed big win. (Repeated disclaimer: this is how I guess the play went, not how it actually went!)

Nikos Sarantakos



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2001 Nikos Sarantakos
sarant@pt.lu
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