Mr. New Got a Lesson on Value Of Alertness in This Contract

Mr. New, the avid kibitzer, decided to get into the game for a change today and on the very first hand he got a lesson on the value of alertness and the proper handling of the smaller cards.

South dealer, Neither side vulnerable

Against the three no trump contract Mr. Masters opened his fourth best diamond, the eight spot. The deuce was played from the board and Mr. New woodenly, put up the jack. This «natural» and seemingly harmless play ruined the defenders’ chances of defeating the contract. Mr. Champion killed the jack with the ace and the result was that the guarded ten of diamonds in dummy became a second stopper in the suit.

Heart Winner

Mr. Champion (South) had seven solid tricks in spades and clubs in addition to the ace of diamonds. So all he had to do was to set up a winner in hearts—which was easily

«Nothing we could do about that one,» remarked Mr. New (East) as the game was entered on the score.

«Are you kidding?» Mr. Champion sneered. «I never could have made this game if you had made the right play at the first trick.»

Mr. New still didn’t get it and he asked Mr. Masters (West) what he had done wrong.

«Champion is right,» said Mr. Masters. «You should have played the seven of diamonds at trick one. From my lead of the eight spot, the rule of eleven would tell you that there were just three spades higher than the eight outside of my hand. One of these was on the board. One was in your hand.

Not The Nine  

«Therefore, only one of them was in the closed hand. Now which of the higher diamonds could Champion have? Not the nine spot because that would mean I had started with ace, king and queen and from that holding I would have led an honor, not my fourth highest.

«To sum up,» continued Mr. Masters, «you should have known that Champion had only one diamond higher than the eight and that it was the ace, the king or the queen. So why put up the jack unnecessarily?

If you had played the seven, nothing could have prevented us from winning three diamonds and two hearts.»

Mr. New saw the logic of all this and he admitted his error. He shook his head sadly.

«These things are so much easier to see when you’re sitting on the side-lines,» he muttered.