Thursday, February 12, 1998 Editors: Eric Kokish, Richard Colker
Special thanks for Internet edition: Mr. N. W. Pedersen

Bd: IX-13 (Akihiko Yamada)
Dlr: North S K109
Vul: Both H 10984
D K54
West East
S AQJ862 S 5
H 2 H KJ76
D Q62 D 109873
C QJ2 C 1063
(Kyoko Ohno)
S 743
H AQ53
C 9854

This deal from ROUND NINE is responsible for one of the great stories of the NEC CUP. Akihiko Yamada declared 3NT from the North side after starting with a weak notrump, West remaining silent. East led the D10, jack, queen, king. Akihiko ran the H8, but East covered the H9 to maintain a tenace. The HQ held and on a low spade from dummy, West rose with the ace to return the D6, East following with the nine when Akihiko contributed the five. Watch closely now. When Akihiko led a spade to the jack and king, East discarded a club to keep his winners and heart guard. Now Akihiko cashed the CAK and led the D4. Note that we did not say that he "exited'' with the D4. East realized that if he won the diamond, he would have to lead a heart from his king into declarer's split tenace at trick twelve, so he followed to the D4 with the three. Dummy threw a club and West's D2 completed one of the most unusual tricks you could ever hope to see. The D4 was declarer's ninth trick!

It would be wonderful if this produced a game swing, but North/South were permitted to make 4H at the other table, so Yamada-san will have to be content with a virtuous piece of declarer play and his name in lights.