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Even tough for experts

March 30, 1959
March 30, 1959

Table of Contents
March 30, 1959

Cover
Art In Harness
An A For Darrall
Boxing
Motor Sports
Food
Baseball
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

Even tough for experts

When experts aren't engrossed in the fascinating pastime of trying to shellac other experts at the bridge table, they sometimes play around with a little game that goes as follows:

This is an article from the March 30, 1959 issue Original Layout

They show a fellow expert the four hands of a deal, with all 52 cards exposed, and say: "Which side would you take—North-South at a six-club contract, or East-West on defense against that contract?" The hoped-for victim is given time to study the situation from all angles, and a wager frequently results.

The wily expert will, of course, be on firm ground before risking his capital.

Many bridge hands have been used in this way, but few of them are tough enough to submit to a genuine, top-flight performer. The deal shown below is one of those few—it has tripped up some of the bridge world's keenest analysts.

Since this is really a double-dummy problem (i.e., all 52 cards are exposed), the bidding and the vulnerability don't matter. The only important facts are: South is in a six-club contract, and West leads the king of hearts. Now having paid your money, you take your choice. Where do you prefer to sit, in the declarer's seat or as defender against the contract? I beseech you to play if fair and read no further until you have made a firm decision. Incidentally, this deal might be a fine trap to spring on bridge-playing friends in your own circle!

To help you out, in case your eyes just happened to stray this far, South can get a fine start toward fulfilling the contract by trumping the opening lead, cashing the diamond ace and ruffing a low diamond with the 5 of clubs, then leading the club 6 to his ace and ruffing another low diamond with the trump 8. Now South leads the trump 9 to his king, cashes the diamond king and arrives at this interesting position.

Last call for the dining car: can South take all the rest of the tricks except one against the best defense?

The answer is no.

South properly leads the diamond jack, and it looks as though West is going to be squeezed. However, West discards the heart 5, and the heart 7 is then thrown off from dummy.

Declarer now leads his last diamond, and it is true that West can't find another safe discard. If he throws a spade, South cashes the ace and king of spades, and then ruffs a heart with the club jack, bringing home a 12th trick. But West doesn't discard this time—he ruffs the last diamond with the high trump, and now it is the dummy that is squeezed! If another heart is discarded from that hand, West simply lays down the high heart; and if a spade is thrown, West leads a low spade, and declarer is fixed.

Did you make the right choice?

EXTRA TRICK
It is rare indeed that a contract depends on the holding of a 7-spot instead of a 6; but in winding up the case now under our consideration, let's note that South can make the slam if dummy has the 9-8-7-5 of trumps instead of the 9-8-6-5, or if that all-important 7 is transferred from East to West.

PHOTO

NORTH

[King of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[9 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[7 of Diamonds]

WEST

[Jack of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[King of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

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

EAST

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

NORTH

[King of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
—[Diamond]
—[Club]

WEST

[Jack of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
—[Diamond]
[Queen of Clubs]

SOUTH

[Ace of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
—[Heart]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[Jack of Clubs]

EAST

[Queen of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[10 of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
—[Diamond]
—[Club]