Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Exciting to the second last deal

The US Women’s Team Trial has been wonderful to watch so far. Going into Board 95 of 96 Mancuso was in the lead. It was a slim lead but the last two deals looked straightforward enough and Mancuso figured to be the winner. This was Board 95

At the other table they North-South from the Mancuso team had played this hand in 3NT down 1.  This figured to be normal since 3NT will go down on the lead of either major suit.  In the open room Levitina and Sanborn for the Dinkin team reached 5 clubs.  As you can see from the diagram this contract has three losers and it seems that there is no way to avoid them.   Quinn sitting West lead a trump.  Sanborn played three rounds of trump ending in dummy.   Needing to set up diamonds she led a diamond from dummy to the DK and DA. 

To be fair it is not clear what Quinn should do now and she doesn’t know about declarer’s diamond fit. But the SA does seem safe.  Even if Sanborn has the Kx of spades she will certainly be able to play the suit for herself for the same number of tricks.  But it is hard to imagine why Quinn made her next play.  She returned a small diamond and the deal was over and so was the final.  Now down by 7 instead of up by 5 the last deal was a low level partscore, not enough to have any chance to regain the lead.

If the Mancuso team fails to win the match today for USA 2, this is a deal that Quinn will not soon forget.  She has my sympathy.  We all make these mistakes.  I don’t usually write up this type of deal in my blog but this one was the final turning point in this hard fought match.  I mean no disrespect to Quinn at all.  She is a fine player and a ferocious competitor.

So the majority of readers who picked Dinkin in my Blog were right but just by a hair.


Bobby WolffMay 28th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Proving that only a very ill wind doesn’t blow some good, it should be noted that when a player either is too tired to count every hand (the end of a long grueling match like this one) or just plain careless, it might lead (and usually does) to some momentous mistake.

Both declarer counting defenders hands and/or (like this one) the defense counting declarer’s hand is necessary on EVERY hand, without which many easily preventable bridge disasters daily take place. As soon as partner bids spades (showing declarer cannot have more than 2) and then declarer showing up with no more than 5 clubs, marks declarer with at least 2 (and likely more) diamonds which renders a diamond return ridiculous. Sure, there are other good reasons not to lead a diamond (partner’s tell tale 9 for one), but when one learns to count every hand, that discipline cuts to the chase and automatically makes every play easier.

Perhaps this hand will be remembered by those who see it, and if so, then many will decide that there are no effective shortcuts to not counting. ‘Nuff said.

BlairMay 29th, 2009 at 10:35 pm


I disagree with the indecisive wording of your comment:

“To be fair it is not clear what Quinn should do now and she doesn’t know about declarer’s diamond fit. But the SA does seem safe”.

Perhaps, as Bobby Wolff pointed out, had she been counting (not too much to expect of someone at one time rated the Number One Woman Player in Ladies competition), it should have been obvious to you, me and all others who consider

themselves to be respectable players, to choose ANYTHING but a diamond.

For Bobby to go all out and use the word “ridiculous” says it all.

Linda LeeMay 30th, 2009 at 2:15 am

I did say it was hard to imagine why Quinn did what she did next. I think that is a pretty clear statement.

I would never lead a diamond back without or without a count on the hand. It is the only lead that has the potential to give up the contract. The SA has to be safe and even a heart can’t give up anything since pitches from dummy are useless even if declarer has the AKJ.

I admit I try to be charitable. If that’s a flaw I can’t help it.

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