Mark Horton

Little Deuce Coup

Little Deuce Coupe was the Beach Boys fourth album – the title track happens to be on the CD of their greatest hits that I keep in the car for summer days.

In the Myles Walsh Stratified Mixed Pairs Nancy Maidman showed a lot of faith in her partner’s not inconsiderable playing skills. As that happened to be Bulgaria’s International star Valio Kovachev, it was not misplaced.

What is more, although the same contract was attempted at several tables only Nancy’s partner found a route to twelve tricks.

Dealer: West

Vul: None

10 6
Q J 9 7 6 5 4
K 9 4
West East
A K 9 8 7 J 4
10 8 A K J 7 4 3
A 3 2 8
8 7 3 A Q 6 2
Q 5 3 2
Q 9 6 2
K 10
J 10 5
West North East South
Maidman Kovachev
1 3 3 Pass
3 Pass 4 Pass
5 Pass 6 All Pass

South led the king of diamonds and declarer won with the ace and in case North held a singleton queen led the eight of hearts from dummy, the jack losing to South’s queen.

Declarer ruffed the diamond return, and played the jack of spades, running it when South did not cover. Now came a heart to the ten, a successful club finesse, and three more trumps. This was the situation when declarer led his last trump:

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

In order to retain a guard in spades South had to throw a club. Declarer discarded dummy’s nine of spades and North threw a diamond. Now declarer played a spade to the king and when he tabled the ace of spades North was faced by this unenviable position:

K 9
West East
A 4
8 A 2
Q 5

Discarding a diamond would allow declarer to score a trick with the deliberately preserved two, and North’s actual choice of a club saw declarer cross to the ace of clubs and take the last trick with the lowest card in the other minor suit to complete a perfect example of a non simultaneous double squeeze.

That brilliant piece of card reading may put Valio in the melting pot for hand of the year. If South had found the equally brilliant play of ducking the jack of hearts then the potential award might be going somewhere else!

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