A Bridge Phantasmagoria
THE REJECTED “GIFT”
Game all: South deals
This hand features a specialised bid in the Acol system. South has seven and half playing tricks and his hand has been greatly improved by the One Spade response and he shows this by going all the way to Four Hearts. The other side of the coin is that when North has a good spade suit and an extreme shortage in hearts, he knows that his partner has some liking for spades and need not fear to remove to Four Spades. Furthermore, such knowledge makes it easy to bid the slam.
West led the jack of clubs and declarer took the ace and contemplated taking all thirteen tricks should the queen of spades be favourably placed. After drawing trumps, he cashed the king of spades and “finessed” the ten of spades. East took the queen and tried to score the king of clubs but South ruffed and claimed the remainder.
In the post-tournament discussion, South asked a fellow member if he had bid the slam on board seven. “We bid it all right, but I was one down,” he replied bitterly. “A grand slam on a finesse is a bad bet,” said South.
“Grand slam nothing. Did you not notice that McTavish was here tonight? I played in Six Hearts and won the club lead with the ace. After drawing trumps, I won the king of spades and played a spade to the ten, but McTavish refused the gift and let me win the trick. I cleared the spades by ruffing away the queen but the queen of diamonds was not an entry, so I lost two diamond tricks.”
I wonder if McTavish would have refused the queen if South had taken a first round finesse without exposing the king.