The Hamilton Spectator

Is bacon cooked wisely or meanly?


Alexander Pope obviously didn't have much time for Bacon or Cromwell, writing: “If parts allure thee, think how Bacon shin'd, / The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind: / Or ravish'd with the whistling of a name, / See Cromwell, damn'd to everlastin­g fame!”

Well, if Bacon were the wisest, he would solve today's deal successful­ly; but if he were in his mean season, he would fail dismally.

West, luckily not having a heart to lead, starts with his fourth-highest spade. How should South plan the play?

Bacon, when in mean season, sees two spade tricks and wins East's spade king with his ace. Then he leads a minor, say a club. East snatches that trick and returns the spade seven, West being careful to duck to dummy's 10. South may take eight tricks: two spades, three hearts (including the finesse) and three clubs, but when he leads a diamond, East wins immediatel­y with the ace and returns his last spade to West's three winners: down one.

When in a sage stage, Bacon realizes that East must have both minor-suit aces for his opening bid. The correct plan is to lock West's long spades out of the game, which is done by sacrificin­g a spade trick. Bacon ducks the first trick. West wins the second trick with the spade queen and leads a third round to declarer's ace, but now the contract is safe. South plays on each minor suit in turn, coming to nine tricks in all.

It doesn't matter how slowly you start a race as long as you cross the finish line first. Ask your local hare and tortoise if you doubt that.

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