Source: SI Vault MAY 21, 1973 Traditionally, the most heinous crime in bridge is to trump partner’s ace. A tolerant expert, however, is inclined to regard this mortifying lapse as a minor misdemeanor, punishable by no more than a rap on the knuckles with a brass ruler just to insure that partner stays awake during the next few deals. The capital offense, in the expert’s judgment, is failure to trump partner’s high card when doing so might save the day. East narrowly escaped arraignment for this misdeed in the curious deal set forth below. It was only by trumping partner’s ace that he was able to redeem himself.

West hoped his partner might be able to trump the very first heart and be inspired to return a diamond, so he led the queen of hearts instead of the king. At the next trick, West was tempted to lead a low heart but feared that this might present declarer with a vital trick, so he continued by playing the heart king.This reversal of the usual order of play should have alerted East to the expediency of trumping the trick and making the desired return of a diamond. But East remained blissfully unaware of his obligation and discarded the deuce of diamonds. Next, since he had to protect East’s natural trump trick if that player happened to hold three spades including the jack, West led the ace of hearts. Suddenly a great light dawned. East realized that his partner had wanted him to trump the previous leads, so he tried to make up for lost time by trumping this one. Fortunately, he elected to ruff with the jack of spades—the uppercut play. Normally, South could have evaded the uppercut by discarding his losing club. Recognizing the danger of a ruff, however, declarer covered with the spade king. This promoted West’s queen into a third trick for the defenders. When East also collected a trick with the king of clubs the contract was torpedoed—thanks to East’s commission of “the greatest crime in bridge.” Don’t forget to follow us @