Neither vulnerable. North deals.

The bidding:


Pass Pass 1© Pass

1´ Pass 3ª Pass

5© Pass 6© Pass


Pass Pass

Opening lead: ?

The great Terence Reese wrote: “There is no such thing as a blind opening lead — just deaf opening leaders.” There is usually some clue to the best attack at trick one. However this deal from the semifinals of the Trials to select the U.S. team for the Bermuda Bowl some years ago might have defied even Reese!

Sitting South was the peripatetic Pakistani, now American internationalist Zia Mahmood. His bid of three hearts, by agreement, showed long, solid diamonds and a hand too good for a jump rebid in diamonds, and North raised to game. Zia figured his team was down a few points, so after considerable thought, he elected to bid the diamond slam.

Had West led a club, the match would have been settled at trick two. A trump or a spade lead would have left declarer to guess who held the queen of hearts, since a club would be discarded on the king of spades.

Unfortunately, West selected the queen of hearts, giving declarer no chance to mis-guess the location of her majesty. Twelve tricks rolled home, and Zia’s team was through to the final.

However, it was not enough to report that the team went on to win the world championship. The team lost in the final qualifying round and the United States did not win the World Championship!

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