Source: Schenectady Gazette – 27 Jul 1953

Many contracts are made which could have been defeated if the defenders had taken the trouble to count the hand. And counting, in most cases, is such a simple process —as in today’s deal.

Dealer South. None Vul

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

Opening lead: 10

Easley Blackwood
Easley Blackwood

AGAINST the four spade contract, Mr. Muzzy led the 10 of diamonds and Mr. Masters won with his lone ace. He led a small spade to dummy’s king and returned a spade. When Mr. Champion showed out, discarding a small diamond, he went up with the ace and paused to check up on his chances.

Obviously, he would have to lose a spade and a heart and therefore could not afford to lose two clubs. It was too much to hope that Mr. Champion had the ace and queen of clubs, so he decided to end-play Mr. Muzzy and hope for a break.

After cashing the ace and king of hearts, he led a third round of trumps and Mr. Muzzy was in. Mr. Muzzy cashed the queen of hearts. Then he shook his head sadly since it appeared to him that the cause of the defense was now hopelesss. Actually, he was in no trouble at all and he should have known it. There was only one card in his hand at this point which he could not afford to lead. But he has a facility in this direction and, with unfailing accuracy, he selected the ace of clubs.

After that card was played, there was no way to beat the hand.

MR. MUZZY should have counted the hand as follows. Mr. Champion had shown out of spades on the second lead of that suit. Therefore Mr. Masters had five spades. On the heart leads, Mr. Champion had played the 10, then the jack. He had two hearts and so Mr. Masters had four. Mr. Masters had ruffed a second lead of diamonds, showing one card in that suit. Clearly, then, he had three clubs. If Mr. Muzzy had returned a diamond instead of laying down the ace of clubs, Mr. Masters could have ruffed in dummy and discarded a club from his hand.

BUT that would not have saved him. He would still have had two losing clubs in his hand and Mr. Muzzy’s ace and queen would have won the setting tricks.