Opening lead: queen of spades
The Los Angeles rooters in the audience—and they were a highly vocal minority—groaned when it appeared that the queen of spades lead would work to declarer's advantage. But Mathe and Schleifer recovered by collaborating in a sturdy defense.
Dummy won the spade ace and declarer led a heart toward his 9. West took the king and returned the diamond 10. Dummy's king fell to East's ace and Mathe moved to extricate his partner from the impending end-play by shifting to the jack of clubs. South and West ducked, and dummy's ace won. The queen of hearts was led, and declarer discarded his losing diamond, allowing West to win the trick with the ace, but closing the door on any further heart leads. West got out with his remaining diamond and South trumped.
The result of the entire 80 boards now hinged on South's next play—and oddly enough it was Schleifer's seemingly unfortunate choice of the spade queen that tipped the decision in favor of Los Angeles. Had both spade honors still been outstanding, Kahn would have had little choice but to play the king of spades and continue the suit, hoping for a break and/or a throw-in play that would give him a club trick. The break would not have come through but the end-play would have, with West (Schleifer) winning two trump tricks but then forced to give declarer a trick in hearts or clubs. Had this happened, New York would have won the match by 2 IMPs.
But with the jack and 9 the only high spades outstanding, Kahn had hopes of a trump end-play—plus the certainty of winning a club trick if either opponent had started with three to the king. So, instead of the king of trumps, he led a low club.
East captured this trick with the 10 and led a high diamond, trumped by South and overtrumped by West's 9. The club king was cashed and the fourth club led. East ruffed with his remaining low trump, and another diamond return insured that West would make his jack of spades for the third undertrick. The result, down 300 at both tables, preserved L.A.'s 1-IMP lead and her intercity title.
Adding to the tension, the Los Angeles team, after a previous warning, had been penalized 1 IMP for arriving late for the final session. For a while it appeared as if that penalty IMP might decide the match. It didn't, but the use of a new scale of International Match Points did. On that new scale, recently adopted by the International Bridge Federation and approved by the American Contract Bridge League—and used for the first time anywhere in this intercity match—Los Angeles won by 164-163. But if the match had been scored by the scale in use when L.A. captured the first contest between these teams, the result would have been 96-94 in favor of New York!
Close as the outcome was, it was generally conceded that Los Angeles earned its victory.
New York's alteredlineup,strengthened by the addition of five new players, made the match closer, but it did not dislodge Los Angeles from the championship and the right to meet challenges of other cities for the title of Bridge Capital of the U.S.