The New York Times Strange Canadian Ailment Causes Dummy Problems

A strange phenomenon that has long terrified serious players has been prevalent recently in Canada where it has been christened »the Y dummy.»

It works this way: An opponent overbids outrageously, is doubled and finds a dummy of quite extraordinary suitability. The contract rolls home, and the suffering defenders are later heard muttering in the corridors, »Y me?» or perhaps, »Y us?» They have become the latest victims of the dreaded Y dummy.

Bridge science offers no hope for eliminating this scourge, or even for finding an antidote. In a recent outbreak in Montreal the victims survived, but in very unusual circumstances. The case was reported in the Montreal Bridge League’s book »Melange de Bridge» by Rhoda Habert, who held the East cards. Optimism is Rife.

Both sides were vulnerable.

 J 9 6 2
K 3
 9 7 4 3 2
 7
 3
 A Q J 10 9
 A Q 10 8 6
 10 4
 Q 10 8
 8 5 4
 K 5
 K J 9 8 6
 A K 7 5 4
 7 6 2
 J
 A Q 5 3
West North East South
1 Pass 2 2
3 Pass 4 4
Pass Pass Dbl All Pass

East and West bid aggressively to a somewhat optimistic four-heart contract that would probably have failed by two tricks. But South, not content with having made a vulnerable overcall at the two-level, now bid four spades, an action that would be understandable from the North position.

South was described by Mrs. Habert as »fearless,» but one can think of other adjectives. An inspired trump lead would have beaten the contract, for East could later gain the lead in diamonds and play the spade queen to cut down ruffs.

But West led the club ten, and South was in full control. Or she would have been if she had realized that her Y dummy contained a built-in trap.

South won with the club queen, ruffed a low club, and led a diamond from dummy. East put up the king, winning the trick, and began a mental grumble about the dummy: »Four trumps, a well-placed doubleton king of hearts, five diamonds, a singleton club…»

A singleton club? East sat up in her chair as she became the first player to notice that dummy had begun with 12 cards. A close inspection showed that the club deuce was lurking under dummy’s diamonds.

A tournament director ruled that the renascent deuce was now in play. Grinning fiendishly, East gave her partner a club ruff to defeat a contract that would have been made if the dummy had been totally visible. The conclusion seems to be that the Y dummy is not always lethal if it contains fewer than 13 cards.