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