A Bridge Phantasmagoria




“I have heard you sing the praises of a certain TV programme with Paul Daniels, especially the Bunco Booth spot of ‘heads I win and tails you lose’. You are obviously fascinated by the art of legerdemain or ‘sleight of hand’ to you,” said McTavish clutching my sleeve and pushing a scribbled hand under my nose.

Interested despite myself I gazed at this collection.


S A4
H KJ82
D 8


S Q109632
H 3
D AJ742
C 8


S J75
H 7654
D 65
C 10972


S K8
H AQ109
D KQ1093
C 43


“At match-pointed pairs, I opened One Heart and West butted in one Spade. Partner jumped to Three Clubs and I re-bid Three Diamonds. As quick as you could say Blackwood, I was in Six Hearts. West led a club so over to you,” quoth McTavish.

“You can not be serious man,” I replied in my best McEnroe voice. “Twelve very obvious tricks, period.”

“How naïve can you get? I see I will have to explain,” said McTavish with mock weariness. “I did say that this was match-pointed pairs. It is pretty certain that many others will be in 6NT and so to beat them I will need to make 13 tricks. Before you say that it cannot be done, let me finish my story.

I drew all four trumps at speed and just as quickly ran the clubs on which my discards were the three, the ten, the queen and the king of diamonds in that order. It was obvious to West that I had rid myself of my entire diamond suit and must therefore be left with three spades.

To demonstrate that he could count up to 13 along with the best of them, he followed my discard of the king of diamonds with the ace of diamonds. I will never forget his face when I led a diamond from the table and produced the nine, the so called Curse of Scotland,” concluded McTavish reminiscently.


by Carl Dickel