Apr 202003

N/S Vul
Dealer: East
Lead: S9

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



2 D
3 H
4 S
6 H

2 C
2 H
4 H
5 C


Today Gee and partner reach a normal heart slam after a not half-bad auction, and West leads the nine of spades, won by Gee in hand with the queen.

Well now. You might just play the diamond ace, ruff a diamond small, assuming that if either defender had nine diamonds he might have been heard from, play the jack of trumps, and claim 12 tricks when both defenders followed. Since this loses only to all five trumps with West, for about 95%, you might just do this. But ask yourself: why do I write about Gerard and not about you instead?

The maestro first plays a trump to the jack. He plays another trump back to the queen. He cashes the ace of diamonds: it’s still not too late to ruff a diamond, cross back to hand with the ace of clubs (or even a spade, since they break), and claim.

He now leads a low club! Dummy’s queen loses to East’s king, and here’s the position:

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

The hand, amazingly, is still stone cold. If East returns a spade (as he probably should, since it’s just possible West is stiff and has a trump left) Gee can win in hand, ruff a diamond — yes, yes, bear with me here — and cross back to hand with the ace of clubs to pull the last trump. A diamond of course produces the same result. In fact East returned a club, which is no better. Gee can win in hand, pull the last trump, and set up the fifth club in dummy, unblocking his jack and 10 of spades under the ace and king, for his twelfth trick. At last the STCP™ can see the point of the maestro’s far-sighted play of winning the first spade in hand.


Gee wins the club return with the ace, pulls the last trump, and plays the five of spades to the ace, leaving himself one entry short.

  2 Responses to “The Hard Way”


    Winning the first trick in hand in order to preserve a dummy entry in case one misplays the hand later is indeed a farsighted play. Yet who could foresee misplaying the same hand thrice? This is akin to Columbus seeing the horizon far in the distance…and falling off the edge of the world just before he reaches it.


    I first like to thank aaron for his great and unselfish work to keep us entertained. I promise to donate $$ soon.

    I don’t think Gee could make a cold slam even though he saw all four hands from the start, as this hand surely demonstrates.

    I also think that Gee would revoke 2 or 3 times on average per hand, if he was playing over the board. But most of us are experts if we can follow suit in cyberspace.

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