HARD LUCK By Milton Work

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The above hand was played in a rubber game in one of the leading clubs of the country at a table made up of expert players.

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Ottawa Citizen – 15 Mar 1934

The above hand was played in a rubber game in one of the leading clubs of the country at a table made up of expert players. The contract: six Spades with West the Declarer, was perfectly normal and would be reached under any system of bidding. The cards were distributed as follows:

North’s opening lead was, the five of Diamonds and the Declarer played the Jack from dummy, but had to overtake with closed hand’s King. Appreciating the importance of leading trumps toward the King and Queen, he led a heart from his own hand, won in dummy, and then led a trump. South played the eight and West won with one of his high honors, that put him in a quandary. Should he try for an even division of the adverse trumps or for on even division of the adverse Clubs?

If the former existed he could lead a second trump and make his contract. If the latter existed, he could ruff a third club in dummy and lead a second trump. As it happened. It did not matter which he tried, he was down one in either case.

At the conclusion of the play, the Declarer not realizing that a perfectly gilt edged contract had been set one trick ventured the remark:

“I never get a suit to break as it should. The division of the Spades was 3-1 and of the Clubs 4-2, so it did not make any difference which way I tried to play the hand”

His partner. who was not too amiable, came back with the retort

“The divisions of Spades and Clubs were what you should have expected. The way you played the hand, you had to have rare luck to make your contract, but why were you saving that Ace of Diamonds? Did you want to take it home and give it to the children for Christmas?”

The play of the Ace of Diamonds on trick 1 would have given East an extra entry and would have enabled the Declarer to lead Spades twice from dummy and consequently, to make his contract. It would have sacrificed the Ace and King of Diamonds on the same trick, but the Ace had no value other than as an entry for East.

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