A Bridge Phantasmagoria




Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings were in Glasgow in the course of an investigation. In the belief that Poirot’s ‘little grey cells’ would make him a top class bridge player, Hastings had coaxed him to look on at a pairs tournament, hoping that he would thereby become interested enough to take up the game. Albert Benjamin sat South with Hastings at East and Poirot beside him at South-East and this was the last hand.

North-South game: South deals


S K4
H 962
D AK976
C 943


S J1098
H Q5
D 10852
C K65


S Q7632
H J73
D J3


S A5
H AK1084
D Q4
C J1082















4H (end)




Benjamin made the game and Poirot had kept quiet until later in the lounge he broke silence. “That Benjamin is the clever one. He sets the trap and you go right into it like the little mouse. After he won the spade lead with the ace, he played the queen of diamonds and then the ace and king. You ruffed and he overruffed and `poof`, the trump loser disappears and he only loses three club tricks.”

“Did you not ask yourself what he did not play after trick one. He did not draw trumps and so you should know that he could not do it. Clearly he worked it out that if you have three diamonds, he can throw away a club then win the ace and king of trumps before going to the dummy hand with the king of spades to throw away a second club. It would be useless for him to play the trumps at the start, because you would trump the king of diamonds and take the three club tricks.”

“I see that. I should simply discard a spade,” said Hastings. “No, No, that is the second part of the plot. He would discard a club and play a fourth diamond, which he would trump. Then over to the king of spades to play the fifth diamond and throw away a second club and again make the ten tricks.”

“So what do I do?” asked Hastings. “You do not trump with the little trump. You do it with the big one - I think you call it the knave. Then you can go in safely and take away the cheese.


by Carl Dickel