A Bridge Phantasmagoria
THE STEPPING STONE SQUEEZE
McTavish’s philosophy has always been, that if you cannot do it yourself, get an opponent to do it for you.
Game all: South deals
The cue bid of Five Diamonds by North instead of a direct Six Spades was pointless and gave East the opportunity to direct his partner to the lead, which jeopardises the slam. Without the cue bid, West might well have led the ace of hearts, in which case a club finesse would suffice, or he might have led a trump, whereupon a club finesse followed by two club ruffs would establish the fifth club. The jack of spades was there for the second ruff and the ace of diamonds was the entry.
Unfortunately, the lead of the ten of diamonds seems to put paid to the slam. McTavish was raging inside, but kept his cool, and after winning the ace of diamonds, he ran off all eight of his trumps and could sense the agony emanating from West.
For his last four cards, West had to hold onto three clubs and very reluctantly had to reduce to the bare ace of hearts. McTavish now took the deep finesse of the ten of clubs. A heart to the ace was the stepping stone to the last two clubs which he made by finessing. The clubs were lucky indeed, but who else would have been able to exploit such luck?
McTavish could not conceal his displeasure about the diamond cue bid and gave his partner a blast. “Why tell the world that you have the ace of diamonds? That kind of advertising never does pay.”