Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} J 10 7

{heart} 8 2

{diam} A Q J 10 7 4

{club} A J

WEST

{spade} 9 6 5 3

{heart} J 10 9 6

{diam} 9 6

{club} Q 8 2

EAST

{spade} Q 8 4

{heart} A Q 5 4 3

{diam} K 5 2

{club} 6 3

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A K 2

{heart} K 7

{diam} 8 3

{club} K 10 9 7 5 4

The bidding: SouthWestNorth East1 {club} Pass 1 {diam} 1 {heart} 2 {club} Pass 2{heart} Pass2 NT Pass 3 {diam} Pass3 {spade} Pass 3 NT All Pass Opening lead: {heart} J

Near the end of the 2004 Vanderbilt Teams, all the surviving teams comprised a sponsor and five pros. Nick Nickell's world champions had been untested until the semifinals, when they met the sextet led by Richard Schwartz.

NICKELL built a big lead, but SCHWARTZ recovered. The score at the end was tied, requiring an eight-deal overtime.

In today's deal Peter Boyd-Steve Robinson, North-South for SCHWARTZ, bid carefully to 3NT. When West led the jack of hearts, Robinson took the king and placed East with the king of diamonds for his overcall. Robinson therefore attacked the clubs, but when he guessed to take the ace and let the jack ride, the defense got a club and four hearts.

That looked bad for SCHWARTZ, but at the other table, where Jeff Meckstroth-Eric Rodwell sat North-South for NICKELL, South opened 1NT despite his unbalanced pattern, and North raised to 3NT.

West led the jack of hearts again. South won, but here he had no reason to think the diamond finesse would fail. So South tried a combination shot: He took the top clubs, hoping the queen would fall, and next led a diamond to the ten. Then the defense ran the hearts, and West also got the queen of clubs: down two.

It was only an extra undertrick, but 100 points can matter a lot in an eight-deal match. SCHWARTZ gained 3 IMPs, enough to put the team into the Vanderbilt final. The overtime score was SCHWARTZ 18, NICKELL 16.

(c)2004, Tribune Media Services