The Reisinger at Phoenix gave the world the opportunity to view the final on vugraph online in real time. An excellent presentation by Bridgebase made it very exciting for bridge pundits everywhere.
The atmosphere was electric and the stage was set when for board one two of the world's best pairs Meckstroth- Rodwell and Zia - Rosenberg opposed each other.
Zia hit on the excellent lead of the Q which Jeff Meckstroth won in dummy to play the 3 to the 9 and A. Declarer now led the 6 which West won with the K to led a second trump. Declarer naturally ran this and was surprised when Michael Rosenberg won to return his third trump. Declarer won in hand with the 10 and led the 5. Zia could have played low to give declarer a guess but chose to split his honours. Now when Meckstroth led the 10 from dummy throwing his last spade West had no answer.
Declarer needs all the tricks and has only four top winners, two trumps and two diamonds. Whatever West plays will give South two extra tricks. A club enabled two spade losers to be thrown first on declarers 10 and then on the Q after a ruffing finesse. A diamond would force declarer to win and ruff a spade bringing down the Ace.
Let us look at the position when East won the J
East made the natural return of a third trump but had he returned a club to the K, A and ruffed in dummy, declarer would have to guess to lead a low spade from dummy to West's ace He would then be able to make the final 8 tricks by means of two top spades the K the Q and four trumps on a crossruff. It is difficult to see but the only defence is for East after winning the J to return a spade to his partners ace. Now when West plays the Q to dummy's king declarer needs the rest. He cashes his spades and ruffs the 7 in hand while East throws a club .Now The K is covered and ruffed. Declarer ruffs a second diamond in hand as East throws his last club. Now although dummy is high with a trump and a master diamond and declarer holds Q he is unable to either cash the Q or draw East's lowly 7 which becomes the setting trick. A missed opportunity for the defence of the year!
In the other room The contract was the same but Mike Becker had an easy time after West cashed two high spades and he was able to take 10 tricks with the aid of the ruffing club finesse - a tied board.