A 10 5 3 2
J 10 8 5 2
A Q 6 4
A Q 10 7 5
K 7 6 4
A Q 4 2
J 4 3
K J 7 6 3
K 9 6 2
Today’s disaster begins with Mini-Gee’s mini one heart opener in second seat, holding no aces, no stiffs, and eleven points counting a loose jack. Perhaps he upgraded for the nine of the clubs, which, to be fair, does prove to be a useful card in the play. After 2C our hero has a problem. A negative double is out, because you never do that with a five-card major; and passing is for children. An unusual 2NT is all that remains; certainly it is an unusually bad bid, even by Chronicles standards.
Equally unusually, it is passed out. East is kind enough not to double, and neither mini-Gee, who probably regards the bid as a notrump game invitation that he’s happy to decline, nor West, the overcaller, has anything further to say.
East opens a low club, and West wins the queen and returns another to East’s jack and dummy’s king. At this point the diligent reader should pause and try to figure out for himself how declarer can take only two more tricks.
First he needs to open the suit where he can do himself the most damage. That would be spades. The maestro leads the SJ at trick 3, covered by the queen and ace, with East dropping the 6 for count. This play simultaneously kills the entry to his hand, preventing him from enjoying any diamond tricks.
It is now safe to lead diamonds, and Gee proceeds to run the DJ, losing to East’s queen. East now cashes three rounds of clubs and the diamond ace. Gee sluffs two spades — another vital play — and a diamond from his hand, and a heart from dummy. East, however, decides to give declarer a count. He sluffs a diamond on the last round of clubs, and then a spade, the 7 no less, on the ace of diamonds.
West now shifts to the S9, and Gee correctly covers, establishing his 5 as East wins the king and plays back a low heart, facing Gee with a heart guess he can’t get wrong, and doesn’t, as the HJ holds for the declarer’s third trick.
Dummy is now endplayed, as Gee leads a small heart off the board. East wins the queen as West follows. East cashes the ace, West discards a diamond, et voilà! a full count. East has already shown three clubs and two diamonds, and now four hearts. This gives him four spades, and all Gee has to do is hold on to that tiny five of spades for his fourth trick.
You didn’t really need me to tell you he discarded it, did you?