After You Alphonse – The Gee Chronicles
Jan 222003

E/W Vul
Dealer: North
Lead: D6

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


1 S
3 C


How can you toss a hand? Let me count the ways.

Today’s West, holding a game-going hand opposite his partner’s one spade opener, elects to suppress his five-card heart suit in favor of a masterminding 2NT. Naturally, in the parallel universe that is the Gee Chronicles, this is rewarded, as 3NT turns out to be a good deal better than the more natural 4H, which suffers from lack of entries to the closed hand and is always down against decent defense.

Gee leads the D6, best for the defense, but there should be no hope. Declarer needs only four heart tricks, and best is to win in dummy and lead the heart jack, dropping a high spot underneath it. (Otherwise if South holds K10xx, as in the actual layout, she can return a heart to kill dummy’s last entry prematurely and the defense can come to five tricks in the end.) Whether the heart is ducked or won, play a spade honor and return to hearts. This line wins unless a) hearts are 5-0 or South holds a small stiff; or the defense shifts to clubs, they break badly and the long hand also holds the spade ace.

Our declarer, however, plays the heart ace, and now things are up for grabs. This is followed by the heart jack, and South wins the king and continues diamonds. At this point dummy is dead and the contract is hopeless against sentient defense. But wait! declarer leads a spade and our hero ducks, tossing away the defense’s only hope, that declarer has a stiff spade.

Now declarer need only take the marked heart finesse for nine tricks, but wait! declarer leads the heart 6 all right, but then overtakes with the queen.

Declarer plays another heart, as good as anything, driving out South’s 10. South plays a third round of diamonds, and surely declarer can now come to only eight tricks.

Declarer cashes the last heart, on which both defenders throw spades, and the club ace and another club. South should know that Gee is left with a diamond winner and the spade ace, and let the club queen hold. But she overtakes to cash the club jack. Still no harm done; the spade ace makes five tricks for the defense… but wait! Gee discards the spade ace on South’s club winner, keeping the crucial 13th diamond.

“By overtaking my club,” says Gee, “you denied having any spades.”

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