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ANTI-CROCODILE COUP

Today's deal, from the ACBL Fall Championships, had enough points of interest to appear twice in the tournament's Daily Bulletin.

When Matthew Granovetter, editor of Bridge Today magazine, wrote up the deal, he noted that a spade opening lead would beat South at five hearts. Many Wests led the singleton club, however.

Most Souths took dummy's ace, drew trumps and cashed the ace of diamonds, on which East dropped the queen. On the next diamond West had to put up his king, swallowing East's jack like a crocodile opening its jaws. If instead West played low, East would be end-played when his jack won, forced to lead a club into dummy's K-J or let the king of spades score.

At one table, South found a way to stop West from executing the "crocodile coup." After South won the club lead, he ran all his trumps. Dummy's last five cards were the K-6 of spades, K-J of clubs and a diamond, and East had to keep the A-Q of spades and Q-10 of clubs, hence only one diamond. South then cashed the ace of diamonds, took the king of clubs and exited with the jack, forcing East to give dummy the 13th trick with the king of spades.

That was plus 650 to North-South, but another North-South pair did even better: North played at 3NT and got a club opening lead, won by his seven. He cashed seven hearts and the ace of diamonds, saving the king of spades and A-K-J of clubs, and East was stuck. He kept the Q-10-8 of clubs and the bare ace of spades, whereupon North led a spade and end-played him. Making six, plus 690!

North dealer

Both sides vulnerable

NORTH
K 6
6 2
8 7 5 4
A K J 9 7
WEST
J 7 3 2
9 8 4
K 10 9 3 2
3
EAST
A Q 10 9 4
3
Q J
Q 10 8 5 2
SOUTH
8 5
A K Q J 10 7 5
A 6
6 4
NorthEastSouthWest
Pass1 2 3
3 NT4 5 All Pass
Opening lead -- Choose it

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