BRIDGE with Bob Jones

The Province - - COFFEEBREAK -

The Mor­ton’s Fork Coup in bridge is named af­ter Car­di­nal Mor­ton, Chan­cel­lor of the Ex­che­quer for a bygone English king. He was charged with col­lect­ing the king’s taxes. He be­lieved that peo­ple who lived nicely could ob­vi­ously af­ford to pay taxes and those that lived fru­gally must have sub­stan­tial sav­ings and could also af­ford to pay. The peo­ple were said to be caught on “Mor­ton’s Fork.”

South’s jump to slam was a rea­son­able gam­ble. Should part­ner have a sin­gle­ton heart, three spades to the ace and the queen of di­a­monds would be enough for slam. A dou­ble­ton heart with part­ner would re­quire a bit more than that, but not much.

Not know­ing what to dis­card on the ace of clubs, South played low from dummy on the open­ing club lead and ruffed in his hand. He led the jack of spades, draw­ing trump, and im­me­di­ately led a low di­a­mond away from his king. This caught West on “Mor­ton’s Fork.” Should West play low, dummy’s queen would win the trick and the king of di­a­monds would be dis­carded on the ace of clubs. Should West rise with his ace in­stead, South could dis­card both of his heart losers, one on the ace of clubs and one on the queen of di­a­monds. Six spades mak­ing six ei­ther way.

East was too much of a gen­tle­man to point out that the slam would have been de­feated with a heart lead.

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