If you remember Sherlock Holmes, you will re-call how angry the great man became when, after explaining his solution of some baffling mystery, he had to listen to his friend, Dr, Watson, say, “How simple. How very simple”.

Dealer South. All Vul

N. Mrs Keen

A J 8
10 9 2
Q 10 5
7 6 3 2

W. Mr. Dale

9 7 3
K J 7 5
K 3 2
A 5 4

South Opens 1NT and finish as 3NT declarer.

The point of course, that it wasn’t simple until the good doctor heard the complete explanation.

It is a fact that many apparently fantastic plays are based on the very simplest kind of logic. The fine plays I am speaking of are by no means beyond the reach of the casual player. Its Just that many players don’t bother to think at all. 

“If I can save just one bridge from that dismal defect failing to think – I will feel that this column has not been written in vain and I will . . . (Steady, old boy).”

Anyway, suppose you held Mr. Dale’s cards in today’s deal and couldn’t see Mr. Abel’s or Miss Brash hand. You lead the five of hearts and Miss Brash wins with the queen. She plays the ten of spades and wins with dummy’s Jack. Back comes a club, partner plays the queen, the king covers and you win with the ace.

What do you return?  (Have you still got the East and South hands covered?)

Mr. Dale returned the king of diamonds and several kibitzers frowned mightily. The play was right nevertheless. Here was the reasoning. Miss Brash still had the ace of hearts because if Mr. Abel had that card he would have played it on the first trick.

Dummy’s jack of spades had won trick two, so Miss Brash must have the king and queen of that suit. There was no reason for Mr. Abel to play the queen of club unless it was alone. So Miss Brash has four good clubs left in her hand.

Clearly, then, Miss Brash can win four clubs, two spades and a heart as soon as she gets In. She already has two tricks. That’s nine in all. Therefore, diamonds represent the only hope. If Mr. Abel doesn’t have four diamonds to the ace-jack, there is no way to heat the hand, Mr. Dale explanied his reasoning to the kibitzers.

“How simple,” they said. “How very simple.”

A J 8
10 9 2
Q 10 5
7 6 3 2
9 7 3
K J 7 5
K 3 2
A 5 4
6 5 4 2
8 6 4 3
A J 7 4
Q
K Q 10
A Q
9 8 6
K J 10 9 8