Susanna Gross

Bridge | 11 August 2012

Bridge | 11 August 2012
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Some players might feel a little inhibited to find themselves defending a contract against the great Michael Rosenberg, known throughout the bridge world as ‘the expert’s expert’ for his encyclopedic knowledge of cardplay techniques. Not a player of Jim Munday’s calibre, though. Quite the reverse, in fact. Munday is a top US player, and as far as he is concerned any opponent, whatever their stature, can be steered to defeat with the right sort of dastardly defence. In the recent semi-final of America’s most prestigious pairs event, Munday caught Rosenberg out with this beautiful piece of deception.

South led the ◆5; declarer (Rosenberg) played dummy’s ◆7, North (Munday) played the ◆9 and declarer ducked. The ◆Q held the second trick. Looking ahead, Munday saw that if he cleared the diamond suit, Rosenberg would almost certainly take the club finesse through South — the danger hand — and would succeed: 4 clubs, a diamond, 3 hearts and a spade would see 3NT home.
So Munday turned his attention to spades. Hoping to convince Rosenberg that his partner had a holding such as ♠KQ9x, he played the ♠8. This went to the ♠J, ♠K and dummy’s ♠A. Now, South looked like the ‘safe’ hand into which to direct the club finesse. After some thought, Rosenberg cashed the ♣A and took the finesse. In with the ♣Q, South returned a spade and Munday cleared the suit. Rosenberg now cashed minor suit winners. Munday parted with a spade and a heart — not daring to bare the ♥K — for down two. But it was Rosenberg who had the last word: with a twinkle, he turned to Munday and said: ‘Chicken’.