Q 8 5
K 10 9
K 10 9 7 4
K Q J 6 2
Q 4 3 2
9 5 4
J 6 4 3
Q J 5 2
A 10 8
A K 7 2
A J 6 5
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.