Jean-Christophe Quantin (born in 1966) is among the true stars of bridge. His accomplishments are amazing. As a junior, he won the European junior teams back in 1988. Since then he also have won the European Mixed Pairs and the European Open Pairs twice! He has also been NPC for successful French teams in juniors and women. In 2016 France won the European Championship, Quantin (just turned 50!) seems to be the “grand ol’ man” at the new young French team that we expect to be a leading team the coming years of bridge.
From the final of the Division Nationale we have found this great hand played by Quantin. His team, Zaleski, faced the mighty Zimmermann squad! The battle ended as a tie, 184-184! The Zimmermann team had won the internal match in the qualifying stage so this made them champions.
In open room, Tor Helness made his 4♥ by letting the jack of clubs run from dummy after the defense brought him up to a difficult position! An interesting choice and important one. Helness made + 590 since 4♥ was doubled.
At Quantin’s table the bidding looked like this.
The 7♥ was led to the ace and the next heart was ruffed by south. A diamond to the queen was followed by a spade to the queen and king. King of diamond to the ace and next Quantin ruffed a diamond.
When he played a spade west won with the king and had to play a heart for south to ruff.
Quantin cashed his trumps and when the last trump were played the cards looked like this
East had to discard a club. Dummy now could let the diamond go and then west were in trouble guarding both clubs and hearts.
A perfect squeeze by the great Frenchman, just to notice a 5 imp loss at the board!
The key element of the hand is in fact to ignore the jack of clubs. It is tempting both to finesse or to do as Helness and start with the jack from dummy. When you look more into the hand, you can see that there is a classic squeeze, you do not need the jack at all. The jack was a trap and Quantin did not get tempted!