A Bridge Phantasmagoria
WHEN SOUTH SHOULD SIT NORTH
Some players have a predilection for a certain seat, but others say that its your head and not your bottom which matters. But there are exceptions.
Game all: South deals.
West led the heart five, and South put up the ace, as a finesse would gain nothing.
South was happy with dummy, as clearly the double finesse in spades gave odds of 3-1 in his favour. Accordingly, he hastened to draw trumps and take his first spade finesse. West won and South ruffed the heart return. Over to dummy with a diamond to take the second spade finesse. No joy and one down. The spade intermediates were the bait which South swallowed, hook, line and sinker.
Now let us suppose that South could be transferred to the North seat, and have to play the hand from that seat. Viewed from that seat, it would look quite natural to ruff the two losing hearts with South’s trumps and discard a spade on the fourth diamond. By this method, six trumps are made, which with four diamonds and two aces, add up to the required twelve tricks.
Here is a further example:
At love score, South opened One Heart and rebid Two clubs over his partner’s 1 NT. North gave jump preference and South bid the heart game.
The spade lead was taken by dummy’s ace. One declarer staked all on an even break in clubs and went down. Another declarer drew only two rounds of trumps before playing clubs. If they broke even, he would draw the remaining trump and claim and if they did not, perhaps the player with the doubleton might have only two trumps. This was a slight improvement, but he too had to admit defeat.
At a third table, North had a sudden call away and with opponents’ permission, South was allowed to occupy the North seat and play the hand. From that angle it was much easier to consider ruffing all three spade losers with South’s trumps. A spade is ruffed at trick two and two more, using the eight and ten of hearts as entries.
The club queen gives entry to draw the outstanding trump and so six trump tricks, three clubs and the ace of spades are good enough for ten tricks and so a change of seat is just the thing after all.
Old hands at the game refer to the play as dummy reversal. There are times when one might think of it as playing the hand for nincompoop of a partner.
In the hand below, the South seat was occupied by a first class player who could view a hand from either side of the table with no trouble at all. By profession, he was a P.I. and when it came to tracing a missing person he was an acknowledged expert. His remit on this occasion was to locate a missing lady - the Queen of Hearts.
Despite an opening bid of One Diamond from East, South still managed to reach the small slam in spades.
West led the two of diamonds and East won the ace and switched to the king of clubs. Dummy won and South ruffed a club high and led a small trump to dummy to ruff a second club, and repeated the process to ruff dummy’s last club.
South now reviewed the evidence. West’s lack of spades placed East with three. He had followed to four rounds of clubs and the bidding and lead placed him with five diamonds. Ergo, he was left with a singleton heart. He tabled the king of hearts and when East followed small, the lady had been found with West.
A reverse dummy play had been employed to get a count.