Just as I was falling asleep one night, a hand from
Jimmy Kauder's Creative Card Play, aka The
Bridge Philosopher spurred a strange and devious thought.
Kauder's book, by the way, is spectacular.
I am sitting (sleeping?) East and the opponents hop to game.
Declarer is a well-known professional, one of the best; dummy is
Partner leads the J, which I win, picking up declarer's
Queen. I cash a second high heart and everyone follows.
| AQJ103 |
| K72 |
The hand is counted out, now. Declarer should be 1-2-5-5.
If partner has a minor suit King, we have this beaten, but can
I beat this hand if he has less? Maybe, by a terrific swindle.
Let's imagine that I had Jxxx. Could I beat it then?
If I return a heart, declarer will ruff and draw two rounds of
trump, partner outshowing on the second round. He'll then cross
to dummy with the A and hook back and claim if his diamonds
are as good as AKQ, which they almost certainly are. To avert that,
I can return a spade, taking out dummy's entry before trumps are
tested. The problem with that play is that it is entirely too suspicious.
Declarer is easily good enough to figure out why I played a spade
into the AQ and take a first round club hook.
Therefore, if I do that without the J, maybe declarer will work
it out and take the club hook, losing to partner's Jack. Imagine the
look of surprise on partner's face to take that trick!
So I return a spade into dummy. Without a sideways glance, declarer
draws trumps, dropping partner's doubleton Jack smoothly, and claims.
Oh well, maybe it was a nightmare after all.
Copyright © 1993 Jeff Goldsmith