Bridge World Extra! Newsletter


The first great series character of contract-bridge literature was Alfred Sheinwold's Algy. Stories about him were often based on recurring themes of human behavior rather than on technique, and the deals often had a twist at the end. This specimen, from "Giving the Show Away" (from the March 1938 issue of The Bridge World), is typical:

S A K 5 2
H 8 7 6
D 9 6 4 3
C J 9
S Q J 8
H K 9 4
D Q 8 7
C K 5 3 2
S 10 9 4
H 3 2
D A J 10 5 2
C 7 6 4
S 7 6 3
H A Q J 10 5
C A Q 10 8

South, having shown hearts and clubs, played four hearts. West led a diamond to East's ace, won the club return with the king, and exited with a club to dummy's jack. Declarer took a trump finesse to the queen; West dropped the nine. This was an excellent defense, for if West had taken his king of hearts, declarer would have had little choice but to draw a second trump, pitch two spades from dummy on high clubs, and ruff a spade in dummy--and this plan would have succeeded. West's play gave declarer a losing option, returning to dummy and trying to pick up the trumps without loss. After a second trump finesse, West would have led a third trump to defeat the contract.

Declarer was given no chance to elect the losing choice, because East, a weak player, reached across the table in the expectation that his partner would capture the queen of hearts. Hence the title of the article.



In the October 1987 issue of Technology Review (page 59 of the special alumni section), Lawrence Kells challenges readers to construct a deal on which this hand:

S 4 3 2 H 4 3 2 D 4 3 2 C 5 4 3 2

wins five tricks, with no irregularities.

After readers have solved that puzzle, they may wish to construct a deal on which that hand can win six tricks.

Champaign, IL

Mr. Blair's solution appears below.

Puzzle solution:

S A K Q J 10
H A K Q J 10
D 5
C K 9
S 4 3 2
H 4 3 2
D 4 3 2
C 5 4 3 2
S --
H --
D A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6
C A 8 7 6
S 9 8 7 6 5
H 9 8 7 6 5
D --
C Q J 10

With clubs trumps, West (or North or East) leads a diamond. East plays four rounds of diamonds, while North and South throw hearts. West trumps the fourth diamond (first trick), leads a trump to East's ace, trumps the next diamond (second trick) while North-South pitch hearts--North still has one heart. West gives East a spade ruff, and ruffs the last diamond (third trick) while North sheds his last heart. Now West (just barely!) can cash three heart tricks without anyone's trumping.

It is hard to give an absolute proof of difficult propositions in this area, but it seems unlikely things can be arranged for that West hand to win seven tricks.

This puzzle theme will be extended in a future edition of Bridge World Extra!