A Bridge Phantasmagoria




It is with great regret that I have to tell you that, when I told some of my club mates what had happened to poor West on the hand below, empathy was conspicuous by its absence. In fact they all sniggered.

Game all: South deals


S QJ10
H 65
D KJ975
C 863


S 87532
H AJ982
D 83


S 64
H Q1043
D AQ106
C Q72


H K7
D 42
C AK10954


South opened One Club and when North responded One Diamond, he leapt into 3NT on the strength of his fine club suit.

Fearing that a heart lead might yield declarer a vital trick, West led a spade and South won the ace to retain a possible subsequent entry to dummy should the need arise.

South gave thought to the club situation. If both opponents were to play small to the ace, he could only continue with the king and pray that both honours came down. However, should an honour drop from West, should he take a second round finesse?

Nervously fingering his cards, as if engrossed with a problem, South surreptitiously transferred his king of spades alongside his ace of clubs. He then tabled the ace of clubs from the first place in his hand and quickly followed with the king of spades from the second place in his hand.

West of course had been fully conditioned for a follow up of the king of clubs and failed to notice that the pips in this black king were not the curly ones. He discarded a high heart. “Having no spades partner” wailed East and West had to admit to quite a few. He had to leave the heart on the table and replace it with a spade.

With the jack of clubs now confirmed as a singleton, South, with a smirk on his face, crossed to dummy with the jack of spades and finessed clubs through East. He easily fulfilled contract with six clubs and three spades, whereas he would have gone four down had he banged out the king of clubs.

West wants to know if he has any legal recourse but South claims a perfect right to play the king of spades and not the king of clubs. I hope all you good people do not consider this a laughing matter.



by Carl Dickel