Both sides vulnerable

NORTH (D)

{spade} A 6 4 2

{heart} A 10 9 6 4

{diam} Q 10 8

{club} 7

WEST

{spade} Q 9 7

{heart} J 2

{diam} A K J 9 3

{club} 8 5 3

EAST

{spade} 5 3

{heart} K Q 7 3

{diam} 6 4 2

{club} Q J 9 6

SOUTH

{spade} K J 10 8

{heart} 8 5

{diam} 7 5

{club} A K 10 4 2

The bidding:

North

East

South

West

2 {diam}

Pass

4 {spade}

All Pass Opening lead: {diam} K

In a popular victory at the ACBL 2002 Fall Championships, the old master, Sidney Lazard of New Orleans, took the prestigious Blue Ribbon Pairs, playing with the brilliant Bart Bramley. Lazard, a member of the Bridge Hall of Fame, has won national titles over six decades.

With two deals to go in the last session, the leaders were Chris Willenken-Glenn Milgrim. Their final opponents: Lazard-Bramley.

Today's deal was the first of the crucial two deals.

The opening bid of two diamonds by Lazard, North, was the Flannery convention, showing opening values with four spades and five hearts. Bramley leaped to game, and Milgrim, West, led the king of diamonds.

A shift to the deuce of hearts would have beaten the contract, but Milgrim was reluctant not to cash a second diamond.

Bramley's hand was unknown, and at the match-point scoring, overtricks were a factor. If West shifted, he might not get his other diamond.

So Milgrim took the ace of diamonds and next led a club. Bramley took the top clubs, ruffed a club and led a trump to his jack, losing. When West returned a diamond, Bramley threw his losing heart on dummy's queen. He cashed the ace of hearts, ruffed a heart, ruffed a club with the ace of trumps, drew trumps and claimed for plus-420 points and most of the match points.

On the second board, Lazard-Bramley competed actively, causing their opponents to miss a game.

Willenken-Milgrim finished fourth -- still a fine performance -- but Lazard-Bramley were the winners by a substantial margin.

(c)2003, Tribune Media Services