Communication Breakdown – The Gee Chronicles
Jul 032003

None Vul
Dealer: West
Lead: HK

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


Today’s bidding is a rarity in itself, placing the maestro in a normal contract after a normal auction. The North/South hands have 26 points but no fit, and the notrump game is a bad proposition that ought to go down on best defense, even on the generous layout.

West opens the defense with the heart king, a reasonable but disastrous choice. The everyday expert would duck, assuring himself seven tricks — three hearts, two diamonds, and two black suit aces — with various opportunities for an eighth. Not the maestro. Gee wins the heart king, killing his last sure entry, unblocks the diamond ace, cashes the heart queen, and leads a third heart.

East wins the jack, surveys the layout, realizes that unless his partner holds the club queen there is no chance to beat the hand, and produces the club king. Gee wins the ace and now has eight top tricks. But hey, what’s the hurry? Maybe he couldn’t kill his own hand, but it’s not too late to kill dummy’s. He leads the spade 10 off the board.

Spade jack from East, low club to queen, West carefully unblocking the jack, and it’s all over. The maestro cashes the long heart and the diamond king, and executes the Miami endplay in diamonds for seven tricks and off 1.

In the post mortem the maestro manfully admitted that “I could have played that hand better.” “How?” one of the spectators replied. “Is there a line for down 2?”

  2 Responses to “Communication Breakdown”


    The Geemeister has brilliantly given us a rare example of Bridge as a Conversation, in this case between the actual south and north hands, rather than between two players of a partnership exchanging information and opinions either through the language of bidding or the codes of defensive carding. The conversation translates something like this: South: “Duck is a bit greasy a dish to eat at trick one.” North: “Duck is pretty tasty at trick six, ‘though.” (Ducking at trick one, of course, will likely induce a D switch, wherein declarer can win the ace, and lead a C toward the Q for an indirect finesse. East may rise and lead a D, but declarer can cover and West is helpless – 2 C’s, 2 D’s, 3 H’s, and a safe direct S finesse for nine tricks.) Both south and north were guilty of suicide, for they both killed their own entries, the former by not ducking when he should, the latter by ducking when he shouldn’t. In the end, they both got goosed.


    West was at fault here for not sacrificing his sK. Note that the hK was sacrificed on the lead. Then declarer sacrificed the dK killing his entry. Then east sacrificed his cK.

    Maybe an alternative title is “Three kings decapitated.”

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