The prof ducks a trap

March 17, 1969

Exotic is the word for this hand, and it comes, aptly, from a far-off country, New Zealand. The bridge colony there is numerically small—recently a total of 57 tables was hailed as an excellent attendance for a three-session pairs event. Nevertheless, New Zealand proved that its players could hold then-own in top company when they were invited to the 1968 Australian Interstate Congress. The visitors finished second in the open teams and swept all three titles in the women's events, a fine showing when you recall that Australia won the 1968 Far Eastern Team Championship and very nearly scored the stunning upset of getting into the finals of the 1968 World Bridge Olympiad at Deauville, France.

The following deal, not from the tournament, was described by W. J. Hutchison in the New Zealand Bridge magazine. The hero is one "Professor Whip," whose skill you are invited to equal.

Although West's jump overcall was weak and tended to show nothing outside of a long suit, East's rescue was not as risky as it might seem. He reasoned that West must be short in hearts and could therefore be expected to furnish spade support. Primarily, East's aim was to lure the opponents into four hearts, and when this worked he pounced with glee.

East took the first two spades, and the professor's queen survived the third round of the suit. A diamond was led to dummy's queen and a heart returned. East elected to follow small and South's 9 won. The appearance of a club from West's hand caused at least one kibitzer to give up hope, but apparently it did not daunt the professor. He calmly continued by cashing the king of diamonds and leading a low club to dummy's jack. On the second trump lead, East once again refused to split his honors and South won with his 10.

When declarer went back to dummy with the diamond ace and led the 13th diamond, this was the position:

[4 of Hearts]
[4 of Diamonds]
[Ace of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]

[King of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]

[Ace of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]

[7 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]

East ruffed with an honor, and apparently that was the end of the matter. If South overruffed, he couldn't continue trumps without giving up two trump tricks. Neither could he lead a second club, as East would score his low trump by ruffing and win the setting trick with his remaining honor. When the professor went into a huddle, the kibitzer wondered how long it would take him to see that he was doomed. But the professor went right on thinking, and you are entitled to take as much time as he did.

No, it would not help for South to discard his remaining club, allowing East to hold the trick. East would return his spade and South would be compelled to ruff in his hand and then yield another trump trick. But the professor found a solution. He underruffed with his 5 of hearts!

With this coup, South escaped the end play and trapped East instead. If East returned a trump, South would finesse, draw the last trump and make dummy's good club. When, instead, East returned a spade, South let go his queen of clubs and ruffed the spade in dummy. With the lead coming from North at the 12th trick, South had the ace-jack of hearts behind East's king-8, and the contract was cold.

Neither side vulnerable South dealer

NORTH

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

WEST

[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[9 of Spades]

[— of Hearts][9 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[King of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]

SOUTH

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

EAST

[Ace of Spades]
[King of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]
[10 of Clubs]

SOUTH

1 [Heart]
PASS
PASS

WEST

3 [Club]
PASS
PASS

NORTH

DBL.
4 [Heart]
PASS

EAST

3 [Spade]
DBL.

Opening lead: jack of spades

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)