Three Strikes – The Gee Chronicles
Oct 222002

N/S Vul
Dealer: South
Lead: H6

S Q 10 7 3
H K 9 4 2
D K 7 5
C K 5
S A 2
H 10 8 6
D A Q 9 8 4
C 7 4 2
[W - E] tai2000
S K 9 5 4
H Q 3
D J 10 6
C 9 8 6 3
S J 8 6
H A J 7 5
D 3 2
C A Q J 10

1 D


3 H



1 C
1 H
4 H


Occasionally the opponents have to be taken firmly by the hand and guided to the winning defense.

Today, for instance, finds our hero declaring four hearts after an utterly normal auction. The defenders miss their first chance to defeat the contract by leading a helpful trump, picking up the suit for declarer (in fairness, it’s easy to pick up anyway as the cards lie).

Gee wins with the H7 as East ducks the queen. Let’s think along with declarer: what’s the best hope to go down? A spade ruff is certainly one possibility, so we’ll definitely want to postpone drawing trump as long as possible. There’s also a small chance the diamond ace is offside, and if so, it’s important to make sure that the defenders take all the tricks that they’re entitled to.

Gee rises to the occasion with a diamond at trick 2. West flies the DA, and, mirabile dictu, returns another diamond, spurning a second chance to shift to the spade ace and beat the contract. East follows to the DK, and our hero is in peril, with four trump, a diamond, four clubs and a diamond ruff staring him in the face.

He pulls one round of trump and finds that they break. The suspense mounts. Surely now he can’t…he won’t…he leads a spade. In a subtle point that many STCPs™ would overlook, he leads the spade jack, encouraging West, the likely short hand, to take his honor and untangle the suit for a ruff. West finally gets the message. He continues spades and gets his third round ruff. Off 1. The post mortem is unrecorded, but really, what is left to say?

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