Almost Bridge 8K02   Main

The Guardian Angel

  by Richard Pavlicek

It was the annual Pro-Am tourney, and Joe Pro liked his chances. “Just play your normal game,” Joe coached his partner Stu Dent, “and I’ll make all the decisions.” Stu, of course, knew good and well this advice only translated to, “Make yourself dummy.”

Midway through the game, West opened 1 D, Joe passed with his usual collection, and so did East. All eyes turned to Stu, who was clearly nervous and fidgety as he reached into his shirt pocket for a calculator. After punching in numbers for a minute or so, he was careful to hide the 24-point total from others at the table (above all, Stu was ethical). Despite so many points, there was still hope to be dummy, so he doubled for takeout — alas, to no avail as West bid 1 S, and Joe could hardly bid freely with nothing. “Enough science,” Stu thought as he ended the auction with a leap to 3 NT.

3 NT South
N-S Vul
S 8 6 3
H 9 8 6 5 2
D 3 2
C 8 6 4
1 D
1 S
3 NT
S K 10 9 5
H J 10
D A Q J 10 7
C K 9
TableS 7 4 2
H Q 3
D 6 5 4
C 10 7 5 3 2

Lead: D Q
H A K 7 4
D K 9 8

West led the D Q, and Joe tabled his Yarborough, obviously irritated. Stu won the D K and cashed H A-K, and Joe’s disposition quickly improved upon seeing his hearts were all good. Instead of running hearts, Stu next made an expert play, exiting with a diamond. Joe could hardly believe it; Stu trying a throw-in play?

West won the D 10 and led the D A. “Trump it low,” said Stu — as everyone’s jaw dropped. After a moment of wonderment, West called the director. Joe had not yet played a card from dummy (there were no trumps) and Joe thought Stu could now call any card. “No.” said the director, “It is obvious he thought hearts were trumps, so he must pitch a heart.”

On the next two diamonds, Stu pitched clubs from dummy, and a heart and a spade from hand. West was now endplayed, but the spade return (best) only gave back the trick Stu had thrown away.

But wait! Stu cashed both spades then ran hearts to reach S 8 C 8 opp. C A-Q. West was squeezed, and the contract made. Is there a moral here? I hope not!

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© 2005 Richard Pavlicek