Daily News – 26 Jun 1991

P G WodehousePerhaps my biggest regret is that I never met P.G. Wodehouse. He was a writer without equal, and a bridge player. Occasionally he would bring bridge into his delightful stories. My favorite Wodehouse character is Psmith (the «P» is silent, as in «pscallop»). In «Psmith in the City,» Psmith watches his boss, Mr. Bickersdyke, playing bridge, and Psmith totally discombobulates the man. Psmith is gaunt and garrulous, dilatory and dapper, with an easygoing attitude to the problems of life. I think his favorite bridge hand would involve deception, so he would have enjoyed being South on today’s deal.

To test yourself, cover the East-West cards and plan your play in three no-trump against a low club lead.

Lead: 4

Let Psmith describe the play: «I couldn’t win nine tricks without playing on diamonds, but that involved losing the lead twice. If I won the first trick with dummy’s knave jack of clubs, surely even Comrade Bickersdyke, who happened to be West, would see the futility in continuing that suit. And if he switched to spades, I would be kneedeep in the bouillon.

«This hand required subterfuge. I called for dummy’s knave of clubs, but then played the king from my hand. When I led a diamond, Comrade Bickersdyke was sure I had A-K doubleton of clubs. He continued with a low club, allowing me to win with the nine. Comrade Bickersdyke spluttered; I smiled sweetly at him. «I led another diamond and claimed 10 tricks.»