Join Bridge Winners
1600 Games XIX: Jim's Fortunate Guess

Jim was disconsolate; he'd just gone down in a cold four-spade contract because he'd miscounted trumps.

To make things worse, his major blooper hadn't escaped the attention of Gerry, who had been carefully watching the cards rather than checking out the scorecard at the crucial moment. “It's not so terrible to miscount trumps,” the Michiganer said to the Southerner. “I just hope that you get the count right when you are an election observer in a cockamamie country somewhere off the beaten track. And where were you this last time, was it Lower Voltage?”

“Upper Volta, if y'all please,” said Jim, hiding his annoyance. It wasn't just that Gerry was a Yankee or an elephant man, but it was all his aggravating questions.

Things might have gotten ugly till Roz stepped in. She didn't want any fights, and 'sides her peanut farmer husband would be no match for the husky former football player. “Everyone makes mistakes, darlin',” she said. “And in any event, taking all those ruffs makes counting a lot harder.”

A few hands later, Jim was at the wheel again. When the dummy came down, Jim's ever-so-polite “Thank you partner” could barely hide his disappointment.

Gerry
Q
75
K10984
KQ1075
Roz
105
AQJ6
QJ732
83
Betty
A742
10982
A
9642
Jim
KJ9863
K43
65
AJ
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
2NT
X
3
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

The contract was an optimistic four spades, reached after Jim had opened 1 in third position, Gerry’s unusual 2NT and Roz’s double, indicating a willingness to defend one of West’s two suits. After Betty’s club preference, Jim bid the spade game. “Please don’t go down, dear,” Roz said as she put dummy down. “I think we might show a profit here.”

“Not to worry, I’m not sure we would collect,” said Jim. “And if we did, I’m ‘fraid it would be peanuts.” He looked at dummy again, hoping to find a way to make the hand faced with what looked like four sure losers – one each in the the black suits, at a very minimum, in addition to two diamonds.

There was, however, one slim chance after the K lead, and Jim took it. If East held the A and the diamonds were blocked.

Acting on that possibility, Jim ducked the first club and won the second. Next came a heart to the jack and a low spade from dummy. A spade finesse seemed mandatory, but perhaps, just perhaps, West had the singleton Q.

When Betty played low, Jim put his hunch to the test, playing the K and closing his eyes. After what seemed like an eternity he opened them, to see that Gerry had put the Q on the table.

The path to victory now seemed clear. Gerry had already confessed to being 5-5 in the minors and had show one spade. That meant that East had at least four hearts.

All of a sudden, the slow-talking Georgian was moving rapidly. In quick succession he played the K, crossed to dummy’s A and discarded a diamond on the J. Then he turned to Betty. “I’m going to draw trumps now. Ma’am, you have two pointed aces to take, but that’s all.”

Roz was all smiles. “Well done, partner. The club duck was the crucial play,” she said. “As the cards lay, the contract was cold after your good spade guess. And even if East had gone up with the A on the first trump lead and cashed the A, there was no way back to her partner’s hand for the high diamond. Even the fortunate spade guess would not have helped if you hadn’t ducked the first club.”

2 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top