A Bridge Phantasmagoria




McTavish held the attention of a small coterie of listeners, and as I did not want to miss anything, I joined the throng.

“Bidding is the art of feeding information to partner and in defensive play, signals are used to show length or strength and that is as it should be. However, the enemy has eyes and ears and too often one hears needless bids and comes across the `signalitis` disease.

Love all: West deals


S 652
D 10974
C A42


H 4
C QJ108


S 10987
H 32
D 862
C K973


H AQ108765
C 65


Laying the above hand before us, McTavish continued. “Against silent opposition, South would take the spade finesse in a contract of Four Hearts and go one down. However, West opened One Diamond, and after two passes, I bid Two Hearts and went on to game when my partner gave me a raise.

West led the king of diamonds, to which East contributed the deuce and then switched to the queen of clubs, to which East signalled with the nine. You now know that West has the king of spades because East has been placed with the king of clubs and would not have passed had he also held the king of spades. Furthermore, at trick two, East played the two of diamonds, declaring three diamonds. The opponents have kindly supplied all the necessary evidence, so where is the elusive tenth trick?”

Leaving us little time to study the hand, McTavish went on. “Winning the ace of clubs at trick two, I led the ten of diamonds and threw my remaining club. West won the jack of diamonds and so I now knew that East’s last diamond had to be the eight.

I ruffed the club return and played ace and another trump to dummy, from which I led the nine of diamonds and the eight duly appeared. This time I discarded a spade and West had to win the ace of diamonds. The magnificent seven of diamonds was now a winner and took care of my other spade loser.

Despite the old saying, I think that the second ‘Fair Exchange’ could be classified as pure ‘Robbery.’


by Carl Dickel