Apr 022003

E/W Vul
Dealer: East
Lead: SK

S 7 3
H Q 8 5
D K 10 9
C K 10 9 7 4
S K Q J 6 2
H 10 9
D Q 4 3 2
C 6 2
[W - E]
S 9 5 4
H J 6 4 3
D 8 7
C Q J 5 2
S A 10 8
H A K 7 2
D A J 6 5
C A 8





Today’s guest columnist is the legendary O_Bones, who needs no further introduction. Over to Mike:

There are plays that are basic to all STCP’s™, the holdup being one that Gee here executes flawlessly. That he subsequently obviates its very raison d’etre is irrelevant. West, kimtm, leads the spade king, continuing the suit until Gee correctly wins the third round, a maneuver that will either exhaust East of the suit or render it harmless by virtue of a 4-4 split. Counting his top tricks, an exercise that he frequently performs correctly, Gee finds that he is one short. A 3-3 break in hearts would yield a ninth trick, but as Gee is an expert he knows percentages well, and a finesse is better than a 3-3 split by nearly five to three odds. He rightly decides, therefore, to look for the extra trick in the diamond suit, and since the finesse can be taken either of two ways, the odds favoring it must, he reasons, be even better than normal. Confidently he plays a diamond to dummy’s king, and floats the ten on the way back. Astounded, West gathers in the diamond lady and cashes two more spades, the lowly deuce administering the coup de grace of the setting trick.

The ubiquitous STCP™ would, of course, lead a low diamond from hand at trick four, inserting the nine or ten and not caring a whit if it lost to East, who would either have no more spades, leaving the danger hand entryless, or, if holding a spade, have found the suit to be 4-4, and not dangerous at all. With the finesse winning, the STCP would now reenter his hand with a rounded top, repeat the diamond hook, and garnish ten tricks. Experts of a different ilk than Gee, having gotten this far, would along the way have played the heart 8 to hand, unblocking as a matter of technique. Upon seeing the ten or nine appear from opening leader, and the other honor popping up when a low heart is led to the lady, our hypothetical expert would apply the Principle of Restricted Choice, playing the last heart to the 7, hooking against the jack, and bringing in eleven tricks. Gee, ever cognizant of opportunities to reinvent the bridge wheel, has found a three-trick “compression play,” paying Hamman homage to the coiner of the term. Speaking of principles, the hand is a perfect example of the reason why your scribe invented the Bones Principle, as it is colder than a penguin’s rectum on a line that any intermediate…er… STCP™ would find, even while somnambulistic.

As the setting trick was cashed the maestro stated, inverting yet another post mortem, “The direction in which I took the finesse was short to long.”

1. Do not hook into danger hands.
2. Do learn restricted choice.
3. Post mortems are for changing feet.

  7 Responses to “The Long and the Short of It”


    “short to long”? I guess if you spend all your time GIVING lessons, when at a certain stage in your career you should be TAKING lessons, you must make up your own vernacular. Going down in this hand should be quite normal…..if you have less than 300 mps, and you have written more books than you have read.


    When did Gee cross the 100MP goal?


    WWGDT (Why Would Gerard DO This?) Give the guy credit. EVEN Gerard wouldn’t have normally made such a silly mistake in declarer play. Gerard, the master, knows not to take a finesse into the dangerous hand. Something must have been distracting him at the time. Let us all pause and consider that this hand may have occurred around the time that Gerard took a peek at Aaron’s website whereupon Gerard by his own account went ballistic and pulled out his gun to consider killing himself. That’s an excuse for bad play that not many people have used. Perhaps the cable guys were at Gerard’s home taking out his T1 connection service and Gerard was mourning the loss of that. Gerard has many distractions in life past the screen we see him on so lets give him some benefit of the doubt. I trust that if Gerard could totally focus on the game he might have only compressed 3 tricks into 2 rather than 3 tricks into 1.


    Interestingly, it is very hard to go down in this hand even without the safety finesse in diamonds (which, rest assured, is the correct line.) But suppose declarer happily cashes hearts and West, employing the ishihira defence, plays red on red on the third round such that declarer is fooled (just play along, ok?). He tries to cash the thirteenth heart but East wins and…what? Diamonds? Bad. Clubs? Bad. Spades? Fresh out.

    OK lets try again. Heart tops, diamond tops, club ace, raise the periscope. Nope, no thirteenth trick yet. Club to ten. See ya, East. What about club ace-king, club to East? He can escape in hearts for now but declarer wins and plays a fourth club and Robert is your father’s brother. To be sure, there are many ways other than the one chosen to go down on this hand but declarer should count himself unlucky if he does.


    Only the true master could recognize that the spade lead was from KQJ stiff and take the D hook through the (truly) dangerous hand. Bad luck (again). All of us evil specs missed that!


    I think some of you are overlooking that Gee doesn’t count losers and he is only able to count winners in the single digits.

    When he wins the spade ace he can count 8 tricks so he knows he needs 1 more to make 9. He also suspects that there are probably still some spades left but there is not much he can do about that.

    The only thing to do is to set up the 9th trick in diamonds and hope for the best.

    The fact that the defence has 5 tricks when the diamond finesse loses is just bad luck and goes to show how life can be cruel at times.


    You guys are totally missing the point of this hand. If spades are breaking 4-4 it doesn’t matter which way you finesse. If West has five spades to East’s three spaces, then the odds favor East having longer diamonds than West. Gee was merely playing with the odds and was unlucky!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>