Source: IBPA Bulletin SEP 2021

Frank Stewart
Frank Stewart

Baron Barclay: Frank Stewart has been involved with bridge as a journalist, author, editor, competitor, and teacher. He is the creator of the popular “Daily Bridge Club” column.

I found Unlucky Louie in the club lounge. He and his cheque book were having a tag-team match against a pile of unpaid bills. “If only I could veto some of these bills,” Louie said glumly, “I might avoid the poorhouse. Look at this. The Water Board wants their money; they say they’ve carried me longer than my mother did. And here’s a letter from the power company saying they’d be delighted if I paid up – but if I don’t, I will be, ‘de-lighted’, that is.”

Dealer East, N/S Vul

K Q 9
6 3
K Q J 7 3
7 4 2
10 3 2
7 4
9 5 2
J 10 9 6 3
A J 7 6
9 8 2
A 10 6
A 8 5
8 5 4
A K Q J 10 5
8 4
K Q
West North East South
1 1
Pass 2 Pass 4
Pass Pass Pass

That afternoon, Louie tried to prop up his bank balance in the penny Chicago game, but he wasn’t delighted after this deal. As South, he leapt to four hearts when North offered some encouragement with a two-diamond bid.

West led the jack of clubs. East took the ace, dropping Louie’s queen, and did very well to shift to a low spade. West’s ten forced out the queen, killing dummy’s late entry to the diamonds. Louie drew trumps and led a diamond, but West signalled with the deuce, showing an odd number.

East therefore let dummy’s king win, but when Louie came back to his king of clubs and led another diamond to the queen, East won and led a club. Louie ruffed, but lost two spades for down one, slipping a little deeper into the hole.

Nice defence,” Louie said grudgingly.

How would you play four hearts?

Louie’s contract was unbeatable. After Louie had drawn trumps, he should have taken the king of clubs before leading a diamond to the king, which East must let hold. Louie would then have ruffed dummy’s last club and led another diamond to the queen. When East takes the ace, he’d have no more clubs. All East could then have done was to cash the ace of spades, holding Louie to ten tricks.

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