MOYSIAN FIT by Stephen Rzewski vul: E-W dlr: South matchpoints North ♠ 83 ♥ J1097 ♦ AQ64 ♣ 632 West East ♠ AK1072 ♠ QJ654 ♥ K532 ♥ 86 ♦ 52 ♦ 93 ♣ 108 ♣ 9754 South ♠ 9 ♥ AQ4 ♦ KJ1087 ♣ AKQJ bidding: S W N E 1♦ 1♠ dbl 3♠ 4♣ P 4♦ P 4♥ P P P opening lead: ♠ A A major-suit game where declarer has only a 4-card trump suit opposite 3-card support is often referred to as a “Moysian fit”, named after Alphonse “Sonny” Moyse, a renowned player of the Culbertson era and editor of “The Bridge World” magazine during the 1950s-60s. Moyse was a strong advocate of this type of fit, although for most players, it is one to be avoided because of the paucity of trumps and the likelihood that the opponents’ holding will divide 4-2 or worse (the odds of a 3-3 division are only about 36%). Occasionally, though, it does prove to be the best contract, but delicate judgment is required. In this author’s experience, the most important points to consider when electing to go this route are: (1) the trump suit should be very strong, so that declarer can control its play effectively, and (2) if the opponents have a suit to lead which will force declarer to ruff, it helps greatly if there is shortness in that suit in the hand with the 3-card support, so that the ruff can be taken without reducing the 4-card length. Today’s hand occurred in a Sectional Open Pairs on Cape Cod some years ago. North’s double was “negative”, promising at least four hearts and enough in high-card values to make a noise. East’s 3♠ call was pre-emptive. Holding five trumps and two doubletons, he resisted the urge to bid 4♠ because of the unfavorable vulnerability. Had he done so, South would likely have doubled and set that contract two tricks to score +500, more than the value of a non-vulnerable game. After North showed a preference for diamonds over clubs, South tried 4♥, patterning out his shape as 1-3-5- 4. North knew that South had only three hearts, since he had not bid hearts at his second turn. Perhaps she should have pulled 4♥ to 5♦ with such weak trumps, but South probably wouldn’t have offered the contract unless he had strong hearts himself. Besides, the lure of achieving a superior matchpoint score was too tempting to resist, especially since few, if any players figured to be in the major-suit game. The defense started with the ace and king of spades, South taking the ruff in the short hand. Now came the tricky part: do you see how declarer played so as to bring in ten tricks…..? Obviously, in order to enjoy the side winners, declarer must draw some trumps. But if he plays the ace and queen, West will win the king and play a third spade. Now the ruff must be taken in the long hand, and at that point, West will have one more trump than dummy, and declarer will eventually lose control of the hand from repeated spade leads and go down. The key play that South must make is to start trumps with the queen, not the ace. If West wins and plays another spade, declarer can ruff with his remaining ace, then get to dummy with a diamond to play the J109 of hearts and draw the remaining trumps. At the table, West ducked the queen of hearts (best). But South now continued with the ace, then simply abandoned trumps and played minor-suit winners. West scored both his trumps, but whenever he ruffed in, dummy had the trump advantage, and thus declarer maintained control. South scored his ten tricks for +420, a cold matchpoint top, as most of the other pairs played the routine 5♦ for +400. The few who bid to 6♦, a reasonable contract which depends on the heart finesse, ended up with an unlucky down one.