Main   Article 7H61 by Richard Pavlicek

# Guessing a Queen

One of the sharpest card players of all time was the late John Crawford. Legend has it that he never misguessed a queen — he had such incredible table feel that he could always tell who held the lady.

One day a fellow gambler offered Crawford a bet: “You leave the table and I’ll arrange the trump suit. When you come back, I’ll bet you \$100 you can’t tell me which defender has the queen.” Sure enough, Crawford accepted the bet.

When he returned to the table, Crawford stared first at his left-hand opponent, and then at his right-hand opponent. Puzzled, he looked at each opponent again and again. “Darn it!” he said, “Neither one of ‘em looks like he has it. I can’t believe this!” Crawford was just about to concede the bet when the gambler tossed him a hundred-dollar bill — he had removed the queen of trumps from the deck.

How good is your queen guessing? Can you find the proper play to make this 4 contract?

4 South

 None Vul 7 6 4 3 K 9 8 10 4 K 5 3 2 K Q 5 2 Q 3 Q 9 7 6 Q 10 9 A 9 8 5 4 2 8 5 3 2 J 8 7 Lead: K J 10 A J 10 7 6 A K J A 6 4

 WestPassAll Pass North2 EastPass South1 4

After winning the K, West leads a low spade to East’s ace, and you ruff the next spade with the 6. The typical play is to ruff your third diamond, cash the K and finesse East for the queen. As you can see, this would not be a success.

Would an expert actually guess this queen? Well, not exactly. An expert would not lead trumps! After ruffing a diamond, the proper play is to cash both top clubs ending in dummy; then lead the last spade and ruff it in your hand. Now exit with a club. Voila! Whoever wins will have to lead trumps (or a diamond) which guarantees your contract. TopMain

© 1996 Richard Pavlicek