Second hand low or high on defense?
Several decades ago, Tom Lehrer wrote many amusing songs. During one of his shows he commented, “It is sobering to consider that when Mozart was my age he had already been dead for a year.” Maybe Lehrer found this harder to bear than anyone realized, for almost as quickly as he came into showbiz, he returned to the world of mathematics.
If Lehrer had been an ardent bridge player, he would have known when to play high and when to play low. Another person who knows the difference is Frenchman Claude Vigneron. This deal occurred during an interclub match in the Marne Valley.
West’s bid of two no-trump showed at least 5-5 in hearts and clubs. It is surprising that East didn’t sacrifice in five hearts. Perhaps she was hoping to receive a couple of club ruffs to defeat four spades.
Vigneron led the club king. Declarer won with the ace and played a low trump. His plan was to duck this to East, win the return (East was known to have started with a singleton club), cash the spade ace and play on diamonds. He would have lost just three tricks: two spades and either a heart or a club at the end.
However, Vigneron threw a tuningfork into the works: He put up the spade king.
If declarer had ducked, West would have cashed two club tricks. So dummy’s spade ace was played. Declarer continued with a low spade from the dummy, but now East won with the 10 and cashed the queen. This left dummy with just one trump and declarer with only nine tricks.
Sack the songwriter who wrote the lyric “second hand low.”