The Martin Rehder Play of the Day Award

20 years ago, the world saw the first occurence of the Peter Fredin double: the opponents are about to pass out a cuebid but you come to the rescue and double them. They then bid their cold slam in the rebound. This was the hand, thanks to the work of Frank and Hans at, it is now easy to find these hands back online:

West’s 2was a natural bid, so north thought it was clear that he was making some sort of void showing cuebid when he bid 4. Not so, South took it as natural and passed. On a spade lead, declarer can be held to approximately 3 tricks, for +350. However, west wanted more…

… and got the lid on his nose when he decided to double for penalties. North rescued himself and a few rounds later, NS reached the cold 7contract and west was left to explain why he turned +350 into -1440.

Note that the hand wasn’t a Swedish success at the other table either. After 1-2, west tried 4, doubled for take-out by north but left in for penalties by south. This contract can be defeated by 3 tricks on theA lead. North tried theK though, and suddenly, EW had made 4.

19 imp’s out, but isn’t that a small price to pay for eternal fame?

After watching the Bermuda Bowl qualifiers last Friday, I suggest to add new category: the Martin Reader play of the day. This is the board that triggered that idea.

You lead theA (fromAKxx(…)) and see an encouraging spade from partner. Next you lead the10, declarer discards a heart in the dummy, partner contributes theJ and declarer’sQ wins. In trick 3, declarer leads the _5 and it is your turn?

While you are thinking, some assorted other news. The WBF has decided to raise the age for seniors to 65 over the next 8 years. Today the requirement is that you should have celebrated your 60th birthday in the year that you wanted to enter a senior event, in other words in 2017 you would have been a senior if you were born before January 1, 1958. On January 1, 2018, that requirement will be raised to your 61st birthday and this process will be repeated a couple of times. Why so complicated? Well, this scheme avoids that players who are currently eligible for senior events, will become uneligible again.

For the person who asked me for a senior event earlier this year, and who I had to tell to get back to me in 2020, I now have to amend this: get back to me in 2024. Other than that, it reminds me of the date I’ll receive my first old-age pension from the Dutch government. When I started working and paying premiums, the age was 65. Over the years, it was raised to what is now 67 years and 3 months, and I’m sure it will be raised a few more times.

Back to the 3NT hand. This looks easy: if partner started with 3 or more spades (and thus declarer with 4 or less), you can now cash out for down 1. 5 spades with east is unlikely anyway and if not, you can always try to find a trick somewhere else.

Obvious? Not for Mr. Rehder who ducked the trick and found out that declarer only needed a single diamond trick. TheK won, declarer led theQ and scored 4 hearts and 3 clubs, for a total of 9. 12 imp’s away instead of a push, when this brillancy was not found by south at the other table.

This must be remember, hence my suggestion to call this henceforth the “Martin Rehder Play of the Day”, together with an award that still has to be assigned.

The award is won by the defender who, on any single day, plays the only card that allows declarer from recovering from a hopeless position and make his contract. Small spots are considered equivalent. Note that in order to win this award, declarer has to actually make use of it. F. made nice attempt to be the first winner of this award at the local club, but unfortunately declarer spoiled it for him. This was the deal, declarer playing a somewhat high 4contract on theA lead and a heart ruff in trick 2.

Having just scored a ruff from a holding that is worth a trump trick anyway, F. had to reach his partner for a second ruff. He led a club...

Yes, that was the only card that would have allowed declarer to make the contract.

Unfortunately, declarer didn’t believe him, went up with theA and took his 9 tricks, for down 1 and a score tied with most other pairs who were in a more sensible 3or 3contract for about average.

Ah well, I’m sure there will be a winner of this award sometime in the future.

Last Saturday, I did a training for some 36 TD’s from the region, introducing them to all aspects of the 2017 Laws of the game. I’m doing this again this Friday. If you are interested in attending, contact me, if you just want to see the material (in Dutch), click here.

The picture is courtesy of Ruurd from the Denktank.

Henk Uijterwaal 2019