Bridge by Frank Stewart

Posted: April 29, 2012

“You avoid using foreign expressions in your column,” my friend the English professor remarked. “Are they verboten?”

“I don’t think they’re apropos,” I replied.

Today’s declarer won the second heart, took the top diamonds, and ruffed his last diamond in dummy. East overruffed with the queen — a major faux pas. South ruffed the heart return, took the ace of trumps, returned a club to his ace, and led the jack of trumps. East won, but South later drew East’s eight with his ten and took the rest.

West thought that East’s defense was a bete noire and ranted about it ad nauseam.

“Don’t overruff with a natural trump winner,” he said in angst.

“I thought it was a matter of quid pro quo,” East shrugged.

“If you discard a club, declarer cashes the ace of trumps next, but you have the K-Q-8 against his J-10-7. He loses three trumps.”

“Mea culpa,” East sighed.

East was caught in flagrante delicto. But if you’ll give me carte blanche, I’ll say that South always makes four spades with the proper savoir faire. He cashes the ace of trumps at Trick Three, takes the A-K of diamonds, and ruffs a heart. South cashes the K-A of clubs and administers the coup de grace by ruffing his last diamond with the nine of trumps. If East overruffs, South loses one more trick to East’s high trump.

If instead East discards, dummy leads a club. East can’t gain by ruffing, so South ruffs for his ninth trick and scores one more with his J-10-7 of trumps. Either way, 10 tricks are a fait accompli.

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