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By: Ray Lee

Originally Published in the International Bridge Press Association Bulletin, November 1, 1997

With the rapid proliferation of on-line bridge, we journalists are being afforded both a problem and an opportunity. Suddenly, hundreds of hands are being played daily, many of them involving top-flight players, and the vigilant observer can usually find plenty to write about. The following hand is a case in point. Had it been played in a major tournament it would undoubtedly have been a "best played hand" candidate; as it was, it occurred in a late-night pickup game on OkBridge, and I was the only lucky kibitzer.

Sheri Winestock
4 (cue)
Linda Lee
3 (transfer to 3NT)
4 (slam try in clubs)
4 (cue)
5 (2 keys without Q)

Sheri took her first good decision on this hand by treating her good 21-count as 22, and opening 2. The result was to allow the partnership to arrive at 6 played by South, by far the best contract on these cards.

Proponents of leading aces against slams might have found the quick kill with the ace and another diamond (although upside-down carding addicts might also have had difficulty reading partner's 10). Those who, on similar grounds, led the A against a popular 6NT contract were certainly disappointed, though. This West chose a passive trump.

Sheri drew trumps in two rounds, played the heart king to the ace (far-sightedly retaining options in hearts) and led a diamond up. West won and exited with a heart, which again was carefully won in dummy. A second diamond revealed the bad news, but declarer was not yet out of options. The diamond position made a straightforward diamond-spade squeeze impossible, but there was another chance.

"This could be cool" announced Sheri to the table, in the chat area, as she ruffed a diamond and ran off two more trumps (throwing the 10 from hand on the second) to arrive at this ending:

Now a heart to the queen closed the vice and West was caught in a pretty trump squeeze. Unable to let go a diamond, since a diamond ruff would set up declarer's hand, West reluctantly disgorged a spade, and now the ace of spades established dummy as the high hand.

Who says women can't play tough?

(Sheri Winestock was a silver medallist in the 1997 Maccabiah games; Linda Lee has also represented Canada in international competition.)

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