A Bridge Phantasmagoria
A STRANGE THROW-IN
East-West game: West deals.
West opened Three Clubs, doubled by North, and South jumped to Four Spades over Three Hears from East and everyone passed.
West led the queen of clubs, covered by the king and ruffed by East, who switched to the queen of hearts. South won the ace and after two top trumps, he returned to hand with the ace of clubs and led a diamond. When the queen of diamonds came from West, he ducked, but East was wide-awake and overtook with the king, to play a second heart. South could not overcome the exact distribution in all four suits and the initial ruff along with two diamond losers and one heart loser spelt defeat.
South rightly pointed out that if the singleton queen of diamonds had been the king, he would have made contract, but McTavish had to say that it could have been made anyway, and on request, he explained.
“When the king of clubs is ruffed right away, you jettison the ace. You win the heart switch, and two top trumps and the ace of diamonds reduces me to clubs only. The two of clubs puts me on lead and on my next club, you discard a heart from the table and a diamond from hand. On another club from me, you ruff in dummy and get rid of your last diamond. You lose two clubs but nothing in the red suits.”
“A bit too exotic for me,” said South.
“There is an alternative which risks me having a void in diamonds, and it works because of the fortunate circumstance that I have two trumps. You win the heart return from East and play a trump and find that I have two. It follows that I have eleven black cards so you cash the ace of diamonds and throw the lead to me with a trump.
Then follows the double discard as before, and the ruff and discard, and this time you lose a trump and a club instead of the three losers in the red suits. I think I forgot to mention that you had also to cash the ace of clubs before the throw-in.”
“It is still too exotic for me,” admitted South