The Sunday Independent - - SUNDAY MAGAZIN -

POWER OF THE HID­DEN HAND Both vul­ner­a­ble. East deals. Open­ing lead: Two of

East-West were play­ing “third and fifth” leads, where the low­est card is led from any hold­ing with an odd num­ber of cards — three, five, or seven. This lead is made without re­gard to the strength of the suit and no honor card is promised. This ap­proach can be help­ful when the key to the de­fense is work­ing out de­clarer’s distri­bu­tion. There are other hands, how­ever, where know­ing that part­ner has an honor in the suit when he leads a low card can be more im­por­tant.

De­clarer in to­day’s deal was Bar­bara Travis, a lead­ing Aus­tralian player. She played low from dummy on the open­ing di­a­mond lead, los­ing to East’s king. Travis won the spade shift with her ace and took a mo­ment to think about the hand. The con­tract has lit­tle ap­par­ent play, seem­ing to have four in­escapable losers. De­clarer can scram­ble just enough en­tries to make the hand if East started with ex­actly three hearts to the ace, king, jack, but that was an un­likely lie of the cards.

Travis de­cided to try for a swin­dle, tak­ing ad­van­tage of the fact that her hand was hid­den from the de­fend­ers. She crossed to dummy with the jack of spades, draw­ing the last trump, and led a low di­a­mond away from dummy’s queen. East, not know­ing who held the jack, rose with the ace and Travis had pulled it off. She was able to dis­card her club loser on the queen of di­a­monds to make her con­tract.

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