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1600 Games XXVII Too Much Information

Mitty was in an expansive mood during the break at which a down-home Kenyan blend had replaced Tasters as the coffee of choice.

“It's not just life, liberty and the pursuit of capital gains,” he said, smoothing back his 'do. “Privacy is also a fundamental right. We must fight to protect it.”

For once 'Chelle seemed to agree. “Are you saying that the Founding Fathers messed up by not including privacy in the Bill of Rights? I think you have a point, considering how difficult it is to raise two girls with reporter fellas and camera people running around all the time. Everything that happens in this house doesn't have to hang out like dirty laundry...”
Bar could not contain himself. “Hush woman, we don't discuss intimate topics in pubic.”

“That's not quite what I was talking about,” said Mitty. “I was referring to transcripts, or even videos, of private meetings with supporters, not to speak of the hullabaloo over tax returns.”
Bar was about to launch into a lecture about the public's right to know when Anny intervened. “No political debates tonight guys. We're here to play cards.”

Anny
K85
K108754
J943
Bar
KQ5
Q64
J932
K52
Mitty
A109873
9732
6
Q6
'Chelle
J642
AJ10
AQ
A1087
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

In the first deal after intermission 'Chelle found herself in 3NT, a pretty normal contract considering her side's 27 high-card points. After a diamond lead to the Q, she proceeded to count her tricks: Two in each suit for sure with what seemed to be several reasonable chances for a ninth.

She started out by leading to the K, and was more than moderately surprised when Anny in the West seat discarded a diamond. A third spade trick had now gone out one of the room's windows, which dated back the the renovations ordered by Chester Arthur when he moved into 1600 back in 1881. Mitty won the A and returned the T to the king (Anny discarded another diamond) and 'Chelle tried her second chance, the heart finesse. But Anny won Q with the K (second chance gone as well) and returned a diamond to the ace, her partner discarding a small heart.

'Chelle's last chance was in clubs. She led the 7 from her hand and let it run. When the Q won, Mitty persisted with a spade to the jack.
Before playing the clubs straight up in the hope that they split 3-3, 'Chelle saw nothing better to do than cash her two heart winners. When both opponents followed, she paused to count the enemy (despite the friendly atmosphere, it was hard for her to think of Mitty and Anny as mere opponents) hands. Mitty had no spades, three hearts, six diamonds – and, therefore, four clubs. No way that suit was gonna divide.

Anny
K
J94
Bar
J9
K2
Mitty
873
6
'Chelle
6
A108
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

But she saw another way. Going to dummy's K, she played the J to put Anny, who was left with the J9, on lead for the end-play that provided the elusive ninth trick.

“Great card-reading,” enthused her husband, who had been watching, enthralled, from his position as dummy. “How did you manage...”

“I got some help,” said the successful declarer. “Mitty's discard of a heart on the second diamond gave the show away. Without it, I would have been on a guess as to whether Anny's original distribution was 0-4-6-3, in which case it was right to play for the clubs to split, or 0-3-6-4, where my only chance was the endplay.”
She turned to Mitty. “Your heart discard seemed innocent at the time, but it gave me just the clue I needed contract. As you say, secrecy is sometimes important.”

Credit Where Credit Is Due Dept.: This hand was reported by Barry Rigal in his account of the 1997 Fall Nationals in St. Louis for International Popular Bridge Monthly, the British magazine. He was South for the hand, which he said illustrated what Swiss bridge great Jean Besse called Neutrinos, the significance of being careful when discarding seemingly meaningless card. As they used to say during WWII "loose lips sink ships".

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