2011 Life Master Pairs in Toronto: Silver and Diamonds

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 2011 Life Master Pairs in Toronto: Silver and Diamonds by John Carruthers. Joey Silver has a reputation for great imagination. This characteristic usually manifests itself in the bidding, which offers the most scope for such machinations. It sometimes backfires, provoking such remarks as “…completely barking mad,” (Brian Senior) from the 2005 Bermuda Bowl in Estoril. Once in a while, the opportunity arises for Joey to give rein to his imagination in card play. Here are two examples, on which I was a bystander as Joey’s partner, both from the 2011 Life Master Pairs in Toronto.


LM Pairs. Q2. Board 19. Dealer South. Neither Vul.


1. One suiter in clubs or 4 clubs and longer spades

2. Relay

3. One suiter in clubs

4. Relay

5. No shortness

6. Puppet to 3NT

7. Forced

8. Slam try in spades

9. Discouraging in spades


Silver led the heart four, giving declarer a free finesse, but not really helping him as the cards lay. Ekeblad tried a spade to the ten and jack and Silver’s imagination took flight – he exited with the diamond nine!  

I cooperated with the ten when Ekeblad played the jack from dummy. Missing four more spades to the king and nine, declarer took his best play to lose only one more spade trick, playing the ace and another. Silver won the king and continued with the deuce of diamonds.  

Declarer now believed North had started with king-nine-eight-two of diamonds and could bring in the suit by ducking the two to his seven. Ekeblad said, “Did you really do that to me?” before ducking in dummy. I won the eight!

The common contract was three no trumps, making six. Minus 420 was a complete top.


 LM Pairs. F2. Board 26. Dealer East. Both Vul.



1. Natural game try


South led a trump, often a very revealing lead to an astute declarer. On the actual hand, it was a good start for declarer and he won the jack over North’s ten.


Silver’s next play? The queen of diamonds! Say what you will about South’s play of the nine under the queen; the fact of the matter is, Silver made 12 tricks for a worldwide top.

 I felt like a passenger.


John Carruthers


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