As the game at the Mad Hatter’s went on, the Red Queens, who were kibitzers, kept bickering.
“I’m the most potent card in Wonderland,” the Queen of Hearts insisted haughtily. “No ace or king would dare capture me.”
“Bosh,” the Queen of Diamonds said. “There is no shame in losing a trick.”
“Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser,” the Queen of Hearts sneered.
Alice had ignored them, preferring to focus on the game, but then she became declarer in today’s deal. The jump to three diamonds by East, the March Hare, was preemptive. When North, the Hatter, bid five clubs, Alice hoped he knew what he was doing.
West, the Dormouse, led the ace of diamonds, and when dummy’s queen appeared, the Queen of Hearts cackled. West then led a trump.
Even if a heart finesse with the ten or queen produced a second trick, Alice had only 10 sure tricks: six trumps, two spades and two hearts. She still had to worry about dummy’s fourth heart. She led a heart at Trick Three, and the Dormouse played the four. Should Alice finesse with the queen or plan a double-finesse, starting with the ten?
Alice knew the Queen of Hearts was watching intently. Rather than incur her wrath, Alice called for the queen. When East played low, Alice continued with the ace and a third heart. She could win East’s spade return and ruff dummy’s last heart in her hand.
“Well played,” the Queen of Hearts roared. “If you finesse with the ten on the first heart, down you go.” (Actually, Alice could still succeed by squeezing East in hearts and spades.)