Double trouble

March 07, 1960

Along-Standing engagement to lecture and play in a tournament at Wichita Falls, Texas, prevented my taking part in the Cavendish Club's annual invitation tournament in New York last month. The winners this year were my good friend and occasional teammate Bill Root and his partner Tobias Stone. Root's 6-foot 8-inch frame seems better suited to basketball than cards, but he is one of the best of the newer bridge stars.

Observers and players are still talking about the deal in which the defender had what looked like a sure set, with five spades to 100 honors behind the four-spade bid. Yet the spade game was brought home at nearly every table. Here is how the remarkable hand went:

Neither side vulnerable South dealer

NORTH

[6 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[King of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[6 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]

WEST

[King of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[9 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

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

EAST

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

SOUTH

1 [Spade]
3 [Diamond]
4 [Spade]
PASS

WEST

PASS
PASS
DOUBLE

NORTH

2 [Heart]
3 [Spade]
PASS

EAST

PASS
PASS
PASS

Opening lead: club queen

At several tables, the opening lead was the king of spades—a play which both revealed the bad break in trumps and helped declarer to make his contract. But even without the help of that lead, the double had already alerted South to the likelihood that all five of the missing trumps were behind him. Declarer had to find a way to make one of West's four apparent tricks disappear—and without the aid of legerdemain.

Here is how it was made against the queen of clubs opening.

Declarer won the first trick with the club ace and led another club to the king. When the jack appeared, it helped give South a count on West's hand. Dummy's ace and king of hearts were taken, and South discarded the good 10 of clubs! Next, he took the ace and king of diamonds and ruffed a diamond in dummy. A heart return was trumped by South. All this time, West had helplessly followed suit, and now the situation was:

NORTH

[6 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[10 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[— of Diamonds]
[6 of Clubs]

EAST

[— of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[9 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]

SOUTH

[Ace of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[— of Hearts]
[4 of Diamonds]
[— of Clubs]

WEST

[King of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[— of Hearts]
[— of Diamonds]
[— of Clubs]

South led the 4 of diamonds. If West trumped low, dummy could overruff and South's spade ace would win declarer's 10th trick. So West had to trump with the spade 10. Now, in order to prevent South from winning the next trick with a low spade, West had to lead another honor. South won with the ace and remained with the 9-8-7 against West's Q-J-3. West got two more tricks, but South made his contract.

It frequently happens that a penalty double gives away the location of the high cards and enables declarer to bring home a contract he might otherwise have lost. Only one West player was able to restrain the impulse to double four spades. He kept quiet, not because he feared that this contract could be made, but because he did not want to drive the opponents to a better spot. As a result, he gave himself the best chance to defeat the contract.

Harold Ogust was the declarer who played the hand with no double to guide him. He could not foresee that trumps would be bunched against him, but he did make a safety play against a 4-1 break. His first lead after winning the ace of clubs was the spade 9. West won the 10 and could have defeated the contract by leading back a trump honor, but he returned the jack of clubs.

EXTRA TRICK
Sometimes the only way to gain a trick is to throw a good card away. In this deal, if South had saved his good 10 of clubs he would have lost his contract.

PHOTO

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)