Declarer turns the impossible into reality – a hand my father would have loved
Welcome to the first column in 2023 and I hope the year brings you all good health and happiness, and lots of great things happening at the bridge table!
Some phrases you hear in your childhood stay with you for your entire existence, and a favourite of both my parents, which means it has stuck with me for my lifetime , was “necessity is the mother of invention”. If I heard it once I heard it 100 times, often in situations where it didn’t remotely apply, but just sounded good!
My Dad was an excellent bridge player, though he never taught me the game in an effort to shield me from this addiction, even though he schooled me well at poker, tennis, snooker, betting on horses and all the other things at which he excelled. I guess he knew that, excuse the pun, bridge would trump them all when it came to addiction — and he was right!
I’m sure he would have absolutely loved today’s hand where declarer turned the impossible into reality by a desperate, but well thought out, play.
North-South got a bit carried away in the bidding on the hand below and they reached the sorry contract of six spades on some imaginative and aggressive bidding which I won’t share with you as it is too gruesome. South‘s blood went cold once dummy hit the table. See Figure 1.
As you can see, the contract is hopeless and all the defence needed to do was keep breathing and not do anything stupid as there was no way declarer could avoid at least two trump losers. This declarer, however, saw one distribution of the trump suit which could save him if the defence went wrong - and he decided to help them on their way!
Declarer won the opening lead of the club King and at trick two cashed the Ace of diamonds, followed by a low trump towards the King, looking for all the world like a man with the singleton diamond Ace intending to throw losing clubs on the diamonds.
West, however, “saw through this” and was having none of it, so he dashed up with Ace of spades, not even noticing partner’s Jack, in order to cash his clubs.
Imagine his horror when declarer ruffed the first club and led a low spade to the King, felling partner’s Queen, and then claimed 12 tricks!
See the full hand in Figure 2.
Notice that if declarer hadn’t sowed the seeds of doubt in West’s mind the play can never occur — West would just play low on the trump lead and now two trump losers were unavoidable.
I have some sympathy for West as he had no clues available to help him – East would have played a middle club on the opening lead which would have told him nothing, and on the diamond East would have played the seven in order to show an even number of diamonds, but that could be four and would be consistent with declarer having a singleton Ace! Sometimes this game is cruel, but all credit to declarer for seeing the opportunity and executing well.
At the end of the hand, one of the kibitzers watching said to declarer “brilliant play, what made you think of that?” With a little shrug the answer was, “Well mate , I got a bit lucky, and you know what they say - necessity is the mother of invention!”
In closing, it was with great sadness that all of us here at the Bridge Club and at the Mid Ocean Club learned of the passing of Ian Hilton, who was a long-time member at both. Ian was a man of many talents and when I first came to the island was senior partner at Appleby, Spurling and Kempe, as it was then called, and was also a talented golfer and keen bridge player. He and Elaine would play regularly at the Club and also played in the online games through Covid.
Ian was a charming and gracious man, usually with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, and he added so much to everything he was a part of. Our thoughts are with Elaine and the rest of his family and close friends at this difficult time.
• David Ezekiel can be reached at email@example.com
BRIDGE CLUB RESULTS
Friday, December 30
1.Wenda Krupp - Delton Outerbridge
2.Pat Siddle - Tony Saunders
3.Elysa Burland - Magda Farag
1.Ed Betteto - Joe Wakefield
2.Judy Bussell - Charles Hall
3.Elaine Henderson - Peter Henderson
Monday, January 2
1. Jane Smith - Ed Betteto
2. Sheena Rayner - Magda Farag
3. Betsy Baillie - Joyce Pearson
1. Charles Hall - Bill Pollett
2. Lynanne Bolton - Peter Donnellan
3. Kirsty Pollett - Linda Pollett
Tuesday, January 3
1. Katyna Rabain - Louise Payne
2. Malcolm Moseley - Mark Stevens
3. Jane Downing - Jamie Sapsford
1.Elaine Henderson - Peter Henderson
2.Roberet Mulderig - James Mulderig
3.Felicity Lunn - Rosemary Smith
Wednesday, January 4
1.Molly Taussig - Tony Saunders
2.Linda Pollett - Bill Pollett
3.Joyce Pearson - Heather Woolf
Thursday, January 5
1/2.Stephanie Kyme - Charles Hall
1/2.Jane Smith - Magda Farag
3. Bill Pollett - Delton Outerbridge
1. Elizabeth McKee - Linda Pollett
2. Tim Mardon - David Petty
3. Marge Way - Harry Kast