LEGERDEMAIN AT THE BRIDGE TABLE

October 28, 1957

The aim of a magician is to distract attention with one hand from what he is doing with the other. The same technique may be employed at the card table. Here, South, the declarer, got attention centered around one suit to the complete neglect of the other.

South opened with a spade, North raised him to two, South rebid three spades and North took it to four. East and West passed each time. Opening lead: 10 of hearts.

The bidding will not draw universal approval. The first round is normal, and South is justified in making one more try, despite his partner's indifferent response. Some would show the diamond suit in the hope that might lead to a successful no-trump contract, or at least help partner to determine whether the hand fits or not. However, South's choice on this hand turned out to be a happier one. North should really pass the three-spade bid because he has so little playing strength. But the fifth trump has a strange psychological effect on most players, though it is plain to be seen that in hands like this it is just so much surplusage.

West led the 10 of hearts. East won with the ace and returned the suit. Declarer went up with the king and immediately played the jack of hearts. It was clear that the contract was doomed to failure unless the enemy's attention could be diverted from the club suit, when the ace of trumps was driven out. So, on the jack of hearts, declarer discarded a diamond from dummy. When West took the ace of trumps he was mindful of the speed with which declarer had disposed of one of dummy's diamonds and concluded that that was the weak spot in the hand. He therefore shifted to the 10 of diamonds. This was taken by declarer with the queen. The trumps were drawn and two of dummy's clubs discarded on South's good diamonds. West had been thrown off the scent. Whether or not he should have been is another story, but South could do no more.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

Neither side vulnerable; South deals

North

[10 of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

West

[Ace of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[10 of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[10 of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

South

[King of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[10 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[King of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]

East

[3 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[8 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)