Cambs & Hunts Contract Bridge Association
Promoting Bridge in Cambridgeshire
Release 2.19q
Super-Moysians by Peter Burrows
Super-Moysians by Peter Burrows

I was intrigued by the following deal which came up in the C&H vs. Beds. match:

Dealer N
♠ 93
♣ KQ83
E/W Vul
♠ K5
♣ J10654
W         E
♠ AQ7642
♣ 9
♠ J108
♣ A72

At the table at which I was kibitzing North passed, East opened 1♠, and our South had a difficult choice of bid. She opted for 1NT, raised to 3NT by her partner

On the ♣J lead, the contract was somehow brought home. It's always pleasing to bring off a bare-faced swindle of this sort, but if North-South had been able to see each other's cards, I think that they would have opted to play in 4 on the 4-2 fit instead. This sort of super-Moysian fit is always very difficult to identify during the auction.

Either minor suit lead can defeat 4, but the most likely defence is for West to lead ♠K, and switch to a trump. If so, declarer wins in dummy and plays a diamond to the king and ducks out the Ace while dummy's second trump protects her against the run of the spades.

It is tempting to win the diamond in hand, cross to dummy in clubs, and play a second diamond. However, after winning A, East can cash ♠A and force dummy to ruff the third spade. Now, when declarer leads a minor suit (dummy being exhausted of the majors) East can ruff to defeat the contract.

That, however, would be poor play by South. The point is that one of the defenders must have a doubleton at most in diamonds. Since declarer can not afford to draw trumps at an early stage, it is evident that the hand short in diamonds is likely to get a ruff when declarer next loses the lead. (If it is West who is short that outcome is virtually certain.) Accordingly, after winning the first diamond, South should play a small diamond from hand, hoping for Ace doubleton specifically.

So, on balance, I would prefer to be in 4 rather than 3NT. But don't run away with the idea that only 4-2 fits provide the opportunity for a Super-Moysian. Look at this beauty which appeared in the "Bridge World" bidding challenge in August 1990:

♣ A5
W         E
♠ 10
♣ KQJ432

South opens a weak NT, and you are given the additional information that North will bid 2 (natural) if that is sufficient. Not surprisingly nobody found 4♠. But it is solid provided that trumps are 4-4, clubs are not 5-0, and that there is no heart ruff, all of which is actually quite likely on the information provided.

Some Super-Moysians, by contrast, are not so very hard to bid provided you have the imagination to keep the possibility in mind. Here are Marcello Branco (East) and Gabino Cintra of Brazil bidding in the Bridge World's "Challenge of the Decade" (August 1991) which they eventually won, partly as a result of their triumph on this deal:

♠ J7
♣ Q964
W         E
♠ AKQ10
♣ A102

East dealt, and the uncontested auction was 1-3;3♠-4;4♠-P.

3 showed a weakish raise, and Branco reckoned that he would have a good chance of ten tricks in spades if only he could draw trumps, and possibly even if he could not; (if they broke 4-3 and West was missing ♠J but had ♣K instead of ♣Q for example). Cintra's ♠J was a welcome sight.

The next one got away, but I think it's rather more difficult.

♠ J4
♣ 74
W         E
♠ AKQ7
♣ J52

With East the dealer, a top American pair bid: 1♠-2; 2♠-3♠; P

At least they finished in the right suit for game, but if one is going to play in a part score one would clearly prefer to be in diamonds. East's actions look off-beat to me.
[As are West's; perhaps he meant to bid 3 or thought 2 was game-forcing. (ed.)]

Finally, here is a very special Super-Moysian (yet again courtesy of the "Bridge World", April 1989):

♣ 105
W         E

♠ J102
♣ 9876432

Admittedly 5♣ might make, or even 3NT if hearts are 4-4. But 4♠ is laydown unless a defender can ruff one of the top hearts or an early round of diamonds. I can't see how that can be bid scientifically!

[And don't forget the hand on the cover of Newsletter 27...or for that matter, the `Worst Trumps' competition of Newsletter 16! (ed.)]