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North deals  S J 5 4 
 H Q 7 6 3 
 D T 7 2 
 C A Q T 
 S 9 7 6 
 H A K 9 2 
 D K 3 
 C J 9 3 2 
[W E]  S  — 
 H J 5 4 
 D A Q J 9 6 5 
 C 8 7 5 4 
 S A K Q T 8 3 2 
 H T 8 
 D 8 4 
 C K 6 

West
Teymur


all pass
North
Daniel

pass
East
Toby

2D
South
Leighton

4S

Cuppers: a comic revue by Alex Foley

Episode II: Defence of the Clowns

Review the plot of Episode I here!

A defensive problem from the cuppers semi-final. You hold the West cards: S9 7 6, HA K 9 2, DK 3, CJ 9 3 2. After partner's weak 2D, South bid 4S and you led the HK (asking for a count signal). Partner's H4 shows an odd number (the 3 and 2 are both visible!) What now?



It seems likely that partner has the DA for his bid, in which case you can cash out four tricks. However, if he does not, cashing the other heart first could prove fatal—declarer's second diamond would then disappear on the HQ. It is therefore better to test diamonds first.

Jedi master Yoda reached this conclusion, and switched to the DK. I now overtook (in case it was a singleton), and continued with two more rounds of the suit, hoping to establish a trump promotion (since from my point of view, the second heart may not be cashing). If declarer had SA K Q 9 x x, Hx, Dx x, CK J x x, leaving Teymur with ST 8 x x, HA K x x x, DK x, Cx x, ruffing high would create an inevitable trump loser.

So, what's the solution to our problem? Don't let partner take control! If Teymur were to lead a low diamond, I would win the ace and diamonds are blocked, so whether I return a heart or a diamond, we would cash our four tricks. See earlier article on PISSHEAD!

Jar-Jar had been written out of the plot so Paul Russell played the South cards at the other table. After the uninterrupted auction pass–1S–2S–4S, there was no reason for the defense to find their diamond tricks, so the board was flattened.