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October 8, 2000
Two Hands from Destiny at Bay
Two Hands from Destiny at Bay
Victor Mollo is by far my favorite bridge author. His series of books set at the fictional Griffins Bridge Club are classics. Recently another collection of stories has been published in the United States. The following hands are from the book. The book is available from amazon.com
The solutions can be found below.
The Hideous Hog, playing South, is partnered by his nemesis Papa the Greek (North). Papa tries to teach the Hog a lesson by bidding the grand slam and, of course, the Hog prevails by making it after the K opening lead. Can you see how to make it?
The Hideous Hog, sitting South is faced with a problem. West starts by leading the top
two diamonds. East plays the 9 and then the 2 (showing a doubleton). When West continues
with a third diamond it appears that though South must go down to defeat (look at the
blocked hearts). Having shown up with the A - K - Q of diamonds, West cannot hold the K (West passed
as dealer). Can you find the same play as the Hideous Hog in order to make the hand?
1- North wins the A.
2- A small diamond is trumped in the South hand.
3- A heart is played to the A.
4- Another small diamond is trumped in the South hand (East discards a for it does no good to trump).
5 and 6 - Declarer cashes two more rounds of hearts ending in the North hand.
7- Another small diamond is trumped in the South hand (East discards a for it does no good to trump).
8 and 9 and 10 - South cashes three rounds of clubs ending in the North hand.
With three tricks to go the last diamond is played from North and this is the situation:
If East trumps low, South overtrumps and cashes the top two trumps for 13 tricks. If
East trumps with the Q, then South overtrumps and finesses West out of the J, again for
13 tricks. Note that the hearts and clubs are interchangeable. If East starts by
discarding clubs instead of hearts, then South plays clubs first.
This hand is an example where the expert play of the Hideous Hog is outdone by the
Rueful Rabbit (abeit for the wrong reason). West begins with two top diamonds on which
East contributes the 9 and then the 2. The Hideous Hog (South), from the play, knows
that East (Rueful Rabbit) started with a doubleton diamond. When West leads the third top
diamond the Hog had a problem. To trump low would mean sure defeat since East would over
trump and lead a spade. Since the hearts are blocked declarer could not come to ten
tricks. To trump with the king removes the only entry to the North hand. Since the hearts
are blocked, again it looks as if South must go down. Since West had already shown up with
and passed as dealer, he could not also hold the K (for surely he would have opened the bidding).
The Hog played with his normal expert style. He trumped the third diamond with the K. Cashed two
rounds of trump, cashed the A, and then lead the 2! East must win this trick and is
forced to lead either a heart or club (either way declarer has ten tricks).
The Rueful Rabbit found a way to scuttle the plans of the Hog quite by accident. So sure was he that the Hog would trump low that he already had the 7 detached from his hand. When the Hog trumped with the K the Rabbit under trumped with the 7! Now the Hog had no escape. If the Hog tried the A followed by the 2, West wins and simply continues either diamonds or clubs to assure a defeat. The Rabbit found the only defensive play to guarantee a defeat for declarer ... undertrump at trick three to avoid the end play.