Rule of Thumb – The Gee Chronicles
Apr 082003

Both Vul
Dealer: West
Lead: SK

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


Gee’s brilliant bidding and declarer play sometimes overshadow his equally brilliant defense. Even the Chronicles have not given it the attention it deserves.

Today, then, features the maestro in an unaccustomed supporting role, in which he manages to steal the spotlight nonetheless. We reach 2DX after what might be considered a normal auction. West’s negative double is reasonable, but it puts the maestro in a tough spot. 3C and 2H both make, but 200 figures to be an excellent score on a part-score hand, and I can’t severely fault the gambling pass.

Gee here might have been well advised to use the rule of thumb I myself often employ on opening lead: pull the card closest to thumb. Instead he begins the defense with one of the two cards that let the hand make, the spade king. (The trump king also does the job.) Declarer wins the spade ace and plays the trump ace and another trump.

Gee ducks the second trump — winning doesn’t help — as West discards a heart. Declarer now leads a heart from dummy, ducked by West, and wins the heart king. Now it’s all over: another trump from hand will restrict the trump losers to one, plus a heart and a three clubs. Making two.

But no! Declarer, apparently losing the trump count, plays two more rounds of spades. Gee ruffs in on the third round, and has only to cash his master trump to prevent the club ruff and beat the contract. He cashes the heart queen, which his partner shrewdly elects not to overtake. Strike one. He cashes the club ace, on which his partner discourages. Strike two. And he continues with the club jack, covered by the queen and king. Strike three: West is forced to concede the club ruff for the eighth trick. Batter out.

  2 Responses to “Rule of Thumb”


    Appears that the Bones Redouble adjunct should always apply when Gee is on lead.


    One can see the gears turning in the grey “Hmmm, I’m out of spades, and out of hearts, and partner has just discouraged clubs. All that’s left is trumps, and it is never right to lead trumps on defense, so pard’s opinion that he knows my hand better than I know it myself is ridiculous; therefore, a club continuation is the only correct play.” Well, it’s tough to argue with logic.

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