Is it guess­work or with the odds?

Cecil Whig - - COMICS & PUZZLES - By Phillip Alder

Charles Dick­ens wrote, “Take noth­ing on its looks; take ev­ery­thing on ev­i­dence. There’s no bet­ter rule.” Some­times, though, the ap­par­ent ev­i­dence sug­gests one ap­proach, but later you re­al­ize you have been mis­led by an op­po­nent, by ac­ci­dent or in­ten­tion­ally. To­day’s deal from a so­cial game is an ex­am­ple.

The bid­ding was de­bat­able and mis­lead­ing. West could have made a two-spade weak jump over­call on the first round. North’s twodi­a­mond re­bid was fourth-suit game-forc­ing. Then, he might have jumped to four hearts over three clubs to in­di­cate a min­i­mum game-force with three-card heart sup­port. Over South’s four-club con­trol-bid, North’s four no-trump was Ro­man Key Card Black­wood. South’s re­ply de­nied the heart queen but showed one ace and the heart king, or two aces. North then bid a slam that could have been off two cash­ing aces.

How­ever, the auc­tion af­fected West’s lead. Be­liev­ing that his part­ner was ace­less, West did not se­lect his sin­gle­ton, which would have de­feated the slam. In­stead, he led his ace. To make the slam, South had to avoid two trump losers. If the suit was split­ting 3-2, there was no prob­lem. If it was 5-0, there was no chance. But what about 4-1? De­clarer played a di­a­mond to the king and led a low heart from the board. Here, the ace ap­peared. But if de­clarer’s king had held, he would have re­turned a low heart to dummy’s queen. He would have made the slam when­ever pos­si­ble.

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