A Bridge Phantasmagoria
OBEISANCE TO THE QUEEN
This hand became the talking point of the tournament:
East-West game: West deals
This was the contract at a number of tables and no-one found the diamond lead, which breaks the contract. A club lead gives declarer an easy ride as he can ruff in dummy and discard a losing diamond. After a heart lead at one table, declarer played a trump at trick two and thoughtlessly covered West’s queen with the king.
Returning to hand with the other heart to which West threw a club, he soon realised he did not have sufficient entries to establish and then get to the remaining hearts. “If only the deuce and three of spades could be transposed,” he thought to himself.
At one table only did West lead the queen of spades. When North automatically reached for the ace, South stopped him. ”Do you not know the basic rule of not playing to the first trick until you have assessed the whole hand? Just play the deuce.” A bemused North could only obey.
West knew South too well to believe he had taken leave of his senses and switched to the singleton heart. South cashed the Ace and king and three entries in trumps were sufficient to bring in the hearts - two to ruff away East’s hearts and the third to get to the remainder. A case of obeisance to the queen.
Incidentally, the contract also makes after a heart lead if South plays a second heart again allowing the queen of spades to make.
Once again on the next hand it was necessary to give obeisance to the queen.
North-South game: North deals
Experimenting with System 25 in which a one bid simply showed the points range, North opened One Diamond showing 15/16 points and got a reply from South of Two clubs showing five plus and ten or more points. North rebid Two Spades confirming a five carder at least, and South rebid Three Clubs to indicate a six carder. North now cue bid Four Diamonds agreeing clubs and over Four Hearts from South, he went straight to Six Clubs.
West led the queen of spades and South hurried to win the king, mightily relieved that the lead had not been a heart. A small club was led and the diamond discard from East revealed the evil break and South had suddenly become a worried man. He drew trumps in the vain hope that West had a second spade, but this failing, he had to settle for eleven tricks.
“The bad breaks and without any entry to diamonds made the whole thing impossible,” moaned South. The opponents feigned sympathy but North gave South a sorrowful look.
“Could I have made it?” asked South who had noticed North’s expression.
“No,” said North icily, “but it can be made. All you have to do is to let the queen of spades win at trick one and you have an easy twelve tricks - four spades, six clubs and two red aces.”
A deflated South could only wonder why anything so simple had escaped him.
Lack of respect for the queen cost South his contract on this deal.
Game all: West deals
The redouble announced no spade losers and East regretted his double which allowed North to give such information.
West opened the queen of spades and the ace won. On a heart from dummy, East gave the queen and South obeyed his automatic reaction by winning the king. The ace of hearts followed only to find that West had a trump trick.
Trump control had gone, but South perceived a slim chance if West had four clubs. He ruffed a spade and returned via the jack of clubs for a second spade ruff. When East now followed to the ace of clubs the hope of four clubs with West had gone, so the diamond finesse was taken and lost, as did the slam. A little forethought would reveal that it is better to let the trump queen win to guard against a 4-1 split.
On a diamond return the ace is put up and a spade is ruffed. Back with a trump and a further spade is ruffed and we have:
South gets to hand with the jack of clubs to draw trumps and run the clubs to get rid of the losing diamonds.