St. Petersburg Times – 13 Jul 1932

Time spent in the study of the fall of the cards and the probable distribution as revealed in the bidding and play frequently results in the making of contracts which to the superficial view appear beset with insuperable obstacles. Ability to read cards is part of the equipment of every good Bridge player. Without it; such plays as squeezes, throw-ins and the like cannot be executed, because the player will not know, where to apply the pressure that brings the squeeze, nor will he know where he is throwing the lead when he leads a losing card. Sometimes apparently unfavorable distribution is favorable and the hand below is a case in point.

East and West vulnerable. North and South not vulnerable. East Dealer.

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South led the King of clubs which East won with the Ace and then led the Ace of hearts. When South’s Queen fell on this trick, East could see that Dummy’s spade suit would be valueless to him if’ the J 8 of hearts remained in the North hand and he attempted to capture the Knave through a finesse, as Dummy’s trumps could not be used both to capture the adverse trump honor and to ruff losing clubs.

Remembering the fall of the club 9 from the North hand, East decided that this card could not be an echo, but was North’s lowest card in that suit. This placed either six or seven clubs to the K Q with either the Knave or Ten in the South hand. By negative inferences, it also placed the spade Ace in the North hand, as well as some of the high diamonds: otherwise South would have bid higher in clubs. Thus, since North could not have more than two clubs, only one of them could be ruffed in the Dummy, leaving East fading the unpleasant prospect of five losers in the minor suits. To lead the King at trumps would be, ineffective for the same reason. Thus placing the adversely held honor cards and deducing the adverse distribution, at trick three East led a small club and discarded, a diamond from Dummy.

North won with the Knave and was compelled to lead a diamond, as obviously the lead of a spade or a trump would be to make things easy for the Declarer. East refused to win this trick, thus proving two entries to Dummy and permitting the making of his game which he would otherwise have lost. It is obvious that North’s alternative lead of the trump would have brought the same result due to East’s brilliant play in apparently illogically refusing to ruff a losing card, and thus placing, the lead where he desired it.

TODAY’S POINTER

An important element in the successful play of the hand is the ability to decipher the distribution of the cards held by each of your opponents. Unless you can do his accurately, the game going trick available to the expert, will frequently be missed.