Source: Daytona Beach Morning Journal – 3 Feb 1948

Dealer South. None Vul

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

Opening lead: K

If a finesse is the only way to fulfill a contract, the ordeal might just as well be faced, but if a safer method can be found one should not place himself at the mercy of a 50-50 chance. A finesse can be avoided in a variety of way. A most interesting method was available to the declarer in today’s hand.

The bidding was somewhat involved. West’s overcall was rather on the light side. North’s 1NT was a distinct underbid. It is true that a bid of 1NT over an adverse overcall denotes a fairly good hand and is not to be confused with a negative 1NT response. Nevertheless, there is a certain point at which the limit of 1NT is reached. The North hand contains 13 points which brings it within the range of a 2NT response.

The negative 1NT response is made on hands counting 6 to 9. A free bid of 1NT on hands valued at 10 to 12—a 2 no trump response on hands from 13 to 15 and the 3NT response designates a hand containing 16 to 18.

South’s jump to three clubs is forcing to game and suggests slam possibilities. North bided his time by showing the preference for diamonds and with the trump suit established, South properly showed the ace of hearts.

North was now justified in showing that his spade stopper was the ace. South could visualize in North’s hand the ace of spades, the king of diamonds, and probably the king of hearts. He therefore went the whole way, with the reasonable chance that no club trick would be lost.

The K was opened and declarer was disappointed in dummy’s heart holding. It appeared to him that the only hope was in the heart finesse, and when this failed he was down one. Declarer had not chosen the proper line of play.

Had West not overcalled, he might be pardoned for his choice, but the overcall made it very probable that West held the king of hearts and the proper procedure was to treat the dummy as the master hand for drawing trumps.

The king of spades is taken by the ace and a spade ruffed in the closed hand with an honor. Dummy is entered with the eight of diamonds and another spade is ruffed with an honor.

Dummy is reentered with the ten of diamonds and the last spade ruffed with the ace of diamonds. Dummy now gets the lead with the queen of clubs and the king of diamonds draws the last adverse trump on which South discards the two of hearts.

The Jack of clubs is overtaken and all of South’s clubs are good. The play of the hand is easy: It is the diagnosis that is the difficult part of it all.

A hand may be played at “dummy reversal” or “making the dummy the master hand” when dummy’s trumps are strong enough to draw the opposition’s trumps and the short suit is in the long trump hand. For this play to have succeeded the adverse five trumps had to split 3-2 which was probable.