Source: The Guardian Thursday 12 May 2011
One of the most frustrating experiences in bridge is to hold a seemingly sure trump trick – and see it vanish as if by magic. But that is not the most frustrating experience in bridge by a long way. Today’s deal comes from the national championships in Turkey. How did South’s sure trump trick vanish, and why was North even more frustrated than South?
Dealer East N/S Vul
|Q J 10 7 3
A K Q 3
9 6 5 3
Q J 9 8 6 5
J 8 7
|8 6 5
9 6 5 4 2
A 7 2
|K 9 2
10 7 4 3 2
J 10 8 4
(*) Not for penalties, but showing some high cards without primary heart support.
(**) For penalties, and not very well judged since it would alert declarer to the bad trump break.
North began with the ace, king and queen of diamonds on which South discarded two clubs as East and West followed all the way.
North switched to the Q, and South sat back happily – since there was no low trump in dummy, it appeared that declarer could not finesse against the 10 and would lose at least one further trick. But as declarer, West won the spade switch with the ace, led a trump to dummy’s king and played a master diamond from the East hand. Anxious to preserve his heart holding, South discarded a third club.
Declarer threw the spade loser from his hand, ruffed one of dummy’s spades with a low trump, cashed the K, and led a heart to dummy’s ace. When he played the last winning diamond from the table, South had no answer. If he ruffed, declarer would over-ruff, draw trumps and cash the Q.
If South discarded on the diamond, preserving his trumps till the bitter end, declarer would throw the club from his hand and lead anything from dummy, claiming the last three tricks with the Q, J and 9.
Maybe South deserved what he got, but spare a thought for North, who mildly said: “Sorry, partner.”
“Why are you sorry?” asked South. “There was nothing we could do.”
“I’m sorry,” said North, “that I could only take three tricks. After you had doubled.”