The same road, but harder to see

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Alexis Car­rel, a French sur­geon and bi­ol­o­gist who was awarded the No­bel Prize in Phys­i­ol­ogy or Medicine in 1912, said, “To ac­com­plish our destiny it is not enough merely to guard pru­dently against road ac­ci­dents. We must also cover be­fore night­fall the dis­tance as­signed to each of us.”

The de­clarer and the de­fense know the dis­tance as­signed to each of them in a deal, and each hopes to cover that dis­tance by night­fall -- trick 13. How can South fin­ish the race first in to­day’s deal? He is in six spades, and West leads the di­a­mond queen to dummy’s king. North gam­bled slightly by jump­ing to four no-trump, be­cause South might have had two (or three) low clubs. But here it worked out.

South has two mi­nor-suit losers and only 11 win­ners: six spades, three hearts and two di­a­monds. Since de­clarer needs to es­tab­lish dummy’s fifth club, he must ruff three clubs in his hand. This re­quires four dummy en­tries -- three for the ruffs and one to reach the club queen. What are they?

De­clarer im­me­di­ately con­cedes that club trick. Sup­pose East wins and re­turns a di­a­mond. South takes that trick on the board (en­try one), ruffs a club high, plays a spade to dummy’s jack (en­try two), ruffs a club (happy to see both op­po­nents fol­low suit), leads a spade to dummy’s queen (en­try three), and ruffs a third club.

Al­most home, de­clarer draws West’s last trump, plays a heart to dummy’s queen (en­try four), and dis­cards his last di­a­mond on the club queen (or, if he is a show-off, the club two!).

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