Vytas and Erikas Vainikonis, father and son bridge enthusiasts, are the generous hosts of one of the best five days of championship-level bridge in the calendar. Held in Vilnius (capital of Lithuania for my fellow geography dunces), it starts with 12 invited teams competing for the highly prestigious Vilnius Cup and follows on with the Pairs and Teams Grand Prix of Poland. One hundred and thirty pairs and 50 teams competed in these tournaments and attracted multiple world and European champions as well as regular bridge nutters like me and my friend Jonathan Harris. Of course, there was endless chat and analysing of hands and all their complexities. Today’s offering comes from the Grand Prix Pairs — and brought in different results from all round the room. Those in 5mostly made six and those in six mostly made 5!
This was the bidding at my table. West led a trump and Declarer wrapped up 12 tricks in no time: eight clubs, two spades and two aces. Easy peasy what’s the problem? Well, at several other tables South opened anything between 1and 4and got to slam when East/West competed in Diamonds. Against 6most Wests led the K won with the Ace. It looks rather natural at trick two to play Ace discarding your singleton Spade. This fails on the layout as Declarer has to lose two hearts. The counterintuitive solution is to draw trump at trick two and play a spade to dummy! This is an unusual Morton’s Fork. If West takes his Ace he has no choice but to give South an entry to dummy, providing three discards for his losing hearts, and if he ducks South can pitch a heart on the Ace and just give up the Q. Very neat indeed.
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