Many years ago, the distinguished expert Oswald Jacoby, playing in a pair championship, got to four spades with the South hand. Ordinarily, Jacoby would have made the contract, but he ran into a seemingly inspired defense and went down as a result.
West led the king of hearts,
then shifted to the queen of clubs. Jacoby saw a possibility of making six if East had the queen of spades, so he won the club with the ace, led a spade and finessed the jack -- which won!
He next crossed to dummy
with a diamond in order to repeat the spade finesse, since East might have started with Q-x-x-x. But when Jacoby finessed the ten, West took the queen, cashed three more hearts and a club, and so defeated the contract three tricks!
Of course, had West taken the queen of spades at his first opportunity, Jacoby would have made the contract easily. He would have lost only a spade, a heart and a club to achieve a well-above-average result.
The highly chagrined
Jacoby realized that going down three would be a very poor score -- possibly a bottom -- but he nonetheless went out of his way to congratulate West for his brilliant play in refusing to win the first trump trick.
An embarrassed West then admitted that he had pulled the wrong card when the first round of trumps was led. He had expected Jacoby to play the ace or king and had not noticed that the jack was actually played on the trick.
“Please,” Jacoby implored him, “won’t you try to be a little more careful in the future?” Tomorrow: The foresight