The premier event at the Fall North American Championships being held in Phoenix is the Reisinger Board-a-Match Teams, which take place over the last three days, beginning on Friday. It is generally considered the hardest of the Big Three (Spingold Knockout Teams, Vanderbilt Knockout Teams and Reisinger) to win.
The defending champions are Pierre Zimmermann, Franck Multon, Fulvio Fantoni, Claudio Nunes, Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness, who represent Monaco.
The diagramed deal from the final day of last year’s Reisinger featured an unusual bidding sequence and interesting declarer play.
Note that South bid a minimum number of clubs on all five rounds of the auction.
North’s initial two-diamond response showed hearts; three spades was a game-forcing cue-bid; four diamonds was Roman Key Card Blackwood for clubs (five clubs indicated two key cards — one ace and the trump king or two aces — and the club queen); and five diamonds was a grand-slam try.
West led the spade king.
Declarer seemed to have ten top tricks: one spade, two hearts, one diamond and six clubs. Presumably, the diamond finesse was working, based on West’s exuberant bidding, and a spade ruff in the dummy would generate an extra trick. But East clearly had only a singleton spade and would be threatening to overruff.
South won with his spade ace and led back a spade. West shifted to a diamond. Declarer confidently finessed dummy’s queen, cashed the diamond ace (discarding a spade from his hand), trumped a diamond and ruffed a spade with dummy’s club king.
Now South, expecting West to be very short in trumps, played a club to his nine. When West followed suit with the six, declarer claimed his slam.
That looks well done, but South risked West’s having a singleton or doubleton club ten. Instead, declarer, after ruffing his spade with dummy’s club king, should have trumped another diamond in his hand. Then he would have cashed his ace and queen of clubs.
When the bad break came to light, South would have taken dummy’s two top hearts, discarding his last spade. It would have been Trick 12. When declarer led a heart from the dummy, he would have had the jack-nine of clubs over East’s ten-eight. It would have been a textbook trump coup.