Con­tract Bridge

The Sentinel-Record - - COMICS, ETC. - Jay and Steve Becker

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

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