Bridge

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - Frank Ste­wart

Cy the Cynic’s team had lost in the fi­nal of my club’s dou­ble knock­out event — by one soli­tary

IMP.

“It was the end of the world,” Cy told me mourn­fully. “The match was close, but we had a three-IMP lead with one deal left.”

Cy showed me the in­fa­mous fi­nal deal, a high­level com­pet­i­tive bat­tle.

“At one ta­ble,” he said,

“North-South bid to five clubs, but my team­mates,

East-West, bid five hearts and played there. De­clarer lost a club, a spade and a di­a­mond, down one.”

“You and your part­ner played at five clubs as

North-South?” I asked.

The Cynic nod­ded.

“We weren’t about to let East-West play at four hearts. At five clubs, I ruffed the heart open­ing lead in dummy, drew trumps and tested the spades. When East showed up with a sin­gle­ton, I tried lead­ing the jack of di­a­monds. But West cov­ered, and I went down. We were mi­nus 50 at my ta­ble, mi­nus 100 at the other — a four-IMP loss. Bye-bye match.”

“Do you think your team­mates were right to push on to five hearts?” I asked.

“I can’t blame them,” Cy mut­tered. “That con­tract could have been mak­able for plus 650.”

I felt so sorry for Cy that I didn’t tell him five clubs was cold. Af­ter South ruffs the first heart in dummy, draws trumps and takes the A-K of spades, he leads his queen of hearts and dis­cards dummy’s last spade: a loser on a loser.

East wins but has no win­ning re­turn. If he cashes his ace of di­a­monds, dummy’s king scores, and Cy has the rest. If in­stead East leads a third heart, Cy dis­cards a di­a­mond and ruffs in dummy. He loses only one di­a­mond.

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