But East had eight hearts!!! By Easley Blackwood

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“I might add,” Mr. Dale concluded, “that I can see nothing wrong with a contract where one opponent holds eight trumps against you—not as long as you make it.”

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Ellensburg Daily Record – 26 Jun 1956

South dealer Both sides vulnerable

Mr. Champion was telling his teammates, Mr. Dale and Mr. Muzzy, about another hand from their duplicate team of four match.

“On this deal,” he said, “our opponents were lucky to get no higher than three no trump. “It took North a little while to pass after his partner jumped to three no trump, but as it turned out they couldn’t have won even nine tricks if the king of spades had not been right.  Of course, Mrs. Keen and I put up the best defense.”

“Naturally,” said Mr. Dale, stifling a yawn.

Seeking Count

“My partner opened the king of clubs,” Mr. Champion continued, “and South let it hold, trying to get a count on the hand. On the queen of clubs lead, I discarded a heart and South won with the ace, he cashed the king and queen of diamonds, then led a small heart to dummy’s queen.

He looked a little surprised when Mrs. Keen discarded a small spade. “South now cashed the ace of diamonds and I showed out, dropping another heart. Obviously it was no good to lead the ten of diamonds to set up the nine, because Mrs. Keen would win with the jack and rattle off three more clubs to beat the contract.

Nine Tricks

“So South cashed dummy’s king of hearts. Then, although he hated to take the risk, there was no other play than the queen of spades finesse. When this worked, he had his nine tricks. I hope you and Muzzy didn’t get higher than three no trump.”

But we did,” said Mr. Dale. “Then we lost the match,” said Mr. Champion, sourly.

“No, we won it,” Mr. Dale replied. “Didn’t West open the king of clubs?” asked Mr. Champion.

“He opened the king of clubs, nobody made any errors, and we still won the match,” Mr. Dale insisted.

Defenders Eight Trumps don’t Bother Mr. Dale at Four hearts

South dealer Both sides vulnerable

When the hand was re-played in the other room, with Mr. Dale and Mr. Muzzy holding the North-South cards, the result was slightly different. Mr Dale told the story, “When East came in with a two hearts overcall.” he said. “I elected to put in a cue-bid of three hearts to show first round heart control and a big hand.

To my surprise, Muzzy bid four hearts, he said later that he thought East must have psyched, “I was stymied by this bid,” the old master continued. “I couldn’t bid four no trump as Muzzy would take it as a Blackwood bid. If I tried four spades, I might find him with a singleton or a void in that suit. I thought we were high enough and, since I figured Muzzy for at least four hearts, I decided to quit right there. At least we would get an unusual result.

Eight Out

But East had eight hearts, said Mr. Champion, excitedly. “How many did you go set?”

“Are you kidding?” asked Mr. Dale in mock surprise. “Having reached this very fine contract, I certainly didn’t intend to muff it. Heres how the play went. ‘

“Mr. West led the king of clubs and when I saw the dummy I knew East had not put in a psychic bid. I won with the ace of clubs and cashed the King of diamonds, then I overtook the queen of diamonds with dummy’s ace, led back a spade and finessed the queen. When this worked I cashed the ace of spades, led a third spade and ruffed with dummy’s queen of hearts.

Here East had to under-ruff as he had nothing left but trumps.

Winning Play

“I now led a diamond and East did the best he could by ruffing with the eight of hearts. I over-ruffed with the ten. I led another spade and ruffed with dummy’s king of hearts. On the diamond return, East ruffed with the nine of hearts. Instead of over-ruffing, I merely pitched a club. On East’s forced heart return, it’s obvious that I won tricks with both the seven and ace of hearts, thus winning ten tricks in all.

“I might add,” Mr. Dale concluded, “that I can see nothing wrong with a contract where one opponent holds eight trumps against you—not as long as you make it.”

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