To­day’s deal re­minds me of Cy the Cynic’s ob­ser­va­tion that it’s amaz­ing what some­body can ac­com­plish when he should be do­ing

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Frank Ste­wart

some­thing else.

North and South had an ac­ci­dent in the bid­ding. The rot set in with North’s jump to four spades, which sug­gested stronger sup­port than he held. South wasn’t blame­less; his last bid was spec­u­la­tive. More­over, North-South could have stopped at a small slam if they had been us­ing a Black­wood vari­a­tion that would have let South learn whether North had the queen of trumps.

Against seven spades, West led a heart, and South viewed dummy with de­spair.

At a suit con­tract, de­clarer nor­mally draws trumps so he can safely cash his side-suit win­ners. South could have tried that, hop­ing for a dou­ble­ton Q-J or a singleton honor with West. But in­stead of hop­ing for that mir­a­cle, South tried some­thing else.

South took the ace of hearts, ruffed a heart and cashed the A-Q of di­a­monds. Still not touch­ing trumps, he led a third di­a­mond to dummy’s king. When East-West fol­lowed, South ruffed a heart, led a club to the ace, ruffed a heart, took the king of clubs and ruffed a club in dummy.

With three tricks to go, dummy had a heart and K-9 of trumps, and de­clarer had A-10 of trumps and a club. East had his three trumps. When dummy led a heart, the de­fend­ers’ “sure” trump trick van­ished. No mat­ter what East did, South would take the rest.

Yes, a club open­ing lead beats seven spades.

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