These tribute articles appeared in The Times 4th and 5th October

by Andrew Robson 2010

 

 

One of the great characters of the game, Denis O'Donovan, passed away earlier this year. Denis pro­duced many fabulous coups at the table, whether for his native Ireland as a Junior or for Kent, where he resided as a secondary school headmaster, and whom he represented for some thirty years.

 

Dealer: East, Vulnerability: Neither

 

 

ª

 2

 

 

 

 

©

 7 5 4

 

 

 

 

¨

 10 9  6 5 4

 

 

 

 

§

 A Q 9 7

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

ª

Q 10 8 7 4 3

 

 

ª

 

©

 

 

W                         E

©

A K Q J 10 8 3

¨

A K 7

 

 

¨

J 8 3 2

§

K J 6 2

 

 

§

8 5

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

ª

A K J 9 6 5

 

 

 

 

©

9 6 2

 

 

 

 

¨

Q

 

 

 

 

§

10 4 3

 

 

W

N

E

S

 

 

 

4©

4ª

 

DBL (1)

NO

NO

NO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                   

(1) In the proverbial voice of thunder. West would have had high hopes for an extreme­ly large penalty. Trouble was he was heart-less.

 

 On today's deal celebrating O'Donovan's memory. West, saliva doubtless rolling down his chin, led out the ace-king of diamonds versus O'Donovan's 4ª doubled. Declarer ruffed the second dia­mond and led the ten of clubs, running it when West played low (key play). Had it lost to East, who would swiftly have cashed three hearts, there would have been no glory for South.

The ten of clubs held, however and declarer now led a second club to dummy's nine. He crossed to a top trump, blinking when he saw East discard (a descriptive but slightly desperate ace of hearts), followed by a third club to the jack and queen. He discarded a heart on the ace of clubs then ruffed a third diamond.

This is the position with declar­er having already garnered seven tricks:

 

 

 

ª

 

 

 

 

 

©

 7 5 4

 

 

 

 

¨

 10 9

 

 

 

 

§

 

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

ª

Q 10 8 7 4

 

 

ª

 

©

 

 

W                         E

©

K Q J 10

¨

 

 

 

¨

J

§

 

 

 

§

 

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

ª

K J 9

 

 

 

 

©

9 6

 

 

 

 

¨

 

 

 

 

 

§

 

 

 

 

Declarer now led a heart and West ruffed his partner's winner perforce, his trump return running to declarer's nine. Another heart followed, West ruffing and at trick 12 leading from his ªQ10 around to declarer's ª KJ.

A remarkable 10 tricks and dou­bled game made.

"Sorry partner, 1 should have bid 5©", West might have said facetiously (but correctly - there is no defence to defeat 5©, North getting squeezed in the minor-suits in the endgame).

 

 

 

 

Today we feature another display of brilliance from the genial Irish Kentishman Denis O'Donovan who sadly passed away earlier this year aged just 60. Thank you to his long-term partner Peter Law for the deals.

 

 

Dealer: South, Vulnerability: North-South

 

 

ª

 J 4 2

 

 

 

 

©

 K J 10 2

 

 

 

 

¨

 9 5 4

 

 

 

 

§

 K 6 3

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

ª

3

 

 

ª

Q 10 9 8

©

A 9 3

 

W                         E

©

7 6 5

¨

A K J 10 8 3

 

 

¨

Q 7 2

§

8 4 2

 

 

§

10 9 5

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

ª

A K 7 6 5

 

 

 

 

©

Q 8 4

 

 

 

 

¨

6

 

 

 

 

§

A Q J 7

 

 

W

N

E

S

 

 

 

 

1ª

 

3¨ (1)

NO

3NT (2)

DBL (3)

 

NO

NO

4¨

DBL

 

NO

4©

NO

4ª(4)

 

NO

NO

DBL(5)

NO

 

NO

NO

 

 

 

                   

(1)Intermediate.

(2)In the spirit of fun - well he does have a fitting diamond honour and a spade stopper.

(3)Smoking East out.

(4)Reads partner for some spade tolerance (I must say I'm not sure I would have, but Denis was absolutely right).

(5)Unsound for at least two reasons

a)East has a very poor hand with no trick-taking potential outside trumps.

b)The double may well tip declarer off as to the trump position (the 3NT bid did not really do that as the removal when doubled indicated it was jocular).

 

 

West led out two top diamonds versus the doubled game, Denis ruffing and advancing the queen of hearts. West took the ace and led a third diamond, reducing declarer's trump holding further (no bad thing, that, indeed declarer would otherwise have had to do it himself in order to emerge victorious).

After ruffing declarer cashed a top trump, both following, then advanced the queen of clubs. This was a clever card, for the oppo­nents were likely to give true count, expecting their partner to hold the ace. Both played low to indicate an odd number, as indeed East had earlier in hearts, so declarer was inclined to place East with his actual 4333 shape.

Declarer cashed two further clubs and two hearts and we have reached this three-card ending:

 

 

ª

 J 4

 

 

 

 

©

 10

 

 

 

 

¨

 

 

 

 

 

§

 

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

ª

 

 

 

ª

Q 10 9

©

 

 

W                         E

©

 

¨

J 10 8

 

 

¨

 

§

 

 

 

§

 

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

ª

K 7

 

 

 

 

©

 

 

 

 

 

¨

 

 

 

 

 

§

J

 

 

 

 

Needing two of the last three tricks, declarer led dummy's heart. East ruffed perforce and declarer discarded his club (key play). At trick 12 East had to lead from ª Q10, declarer running the lead to dummy's jack and scoring the last trick with his king. 10 tricks and doubled game made. Goodbye Denis you are much missed.

andrew.robson@thetimes.co.

 

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