Photo by Peg Kaplan
Source: The Hour – 7 Nov 1999
Opening lead: 2
One of the keys to good card play is the step by step process by which declarer gradually learns how the adverse cards are distributed and proceeds to take take full advantge of this knowledge.
Consider this deal played by Bob Hamman, recently inducted into the Bridge Hall of Fame, in a match some years
ago between Australia and the United States.
West led a club, won by East with the jack, and East cashed the king of spades before continuing with the ace of clubs.
Hamman ruffed and played the queen of spades, taken by East with the ace.
East led a third round of clubs, ruffed by South, leaving Hamman in a position where he had already lost three tricks
and West – though Hamman did not yet know it – held four trumps to his three. Had Hamman decided to draw
trumps at this stage hoping to take the rest of the tricks on the assumption the trumps were divided 3-2 he would have failed in his mission. Instead, he cashed the K, A of diamonds in that order, bringing forth West’s Q, J.
Hamman now had solid grounds for suspecting that the trumps were divided 4-1 instead of 3·2. West had shown up with two diamonds, at most four clubs (he had led the deuce at trick one) and probably had three spades, judging from the early spade plays.
So Hamman led the spade jack at trick eight and discarded a diamond, finding the suit divided 3-3, as he had expected. He then cashed the ace of trumps and proceeded to make the last four tricks on a crossruff, trumping dummy’s J 10 of spades with the K Q of trumps, and his 10 6 of diamonds with the J 10 of trumps. In the Process
West’s apparently invincible trump trick simply disappeared.