Ted's Bridge World Dante's Infernal

Winkle, Winkle, Little Star

More than one semi-knowledgeable player has expressed to me the opinion that there are no interesting 3-card end-positions.  This masochist's delight from last Thursday's daytime game is adequate testament to those players' oversights.  It embodies a rare, yet exciting finale known as a Winkle.

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Contract: 6NT
Opening Lead: 10


After north opened 1 and rebid clubs, south took a reasonable, albeit optimistic, shot at a slam.  Obviously, the contract could have been defeated by a pair of diamond plays; but then there would be no story to tell.  In any case west's choice of leads was perfectly reasonable, especially since south had bid diamonds.

Most of the play was straightforward.  East ducked the spade lead, and declarer won with the jack.  The clubs were run, followed by three rounds of hearts with the aid of a finesse, leaving this elegant ending:

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Declarer placed the diamond queen upon the table, and his left-hand opponent had a choice as to who would be endplayed.  A considerate west might grab the ace and spare his partner the agony; but today he elected to duck the trick to the singleton diamond king, thereby subjecting that worthy to the agony of leading into declarer's spade tenace.  What fun!

No lead other than a diamond, and no choice of discards by the defenders, could have succeeded against best play.  It is not every day that declarer can offer the opponents the option of who will suffer the ignominy of yielding a slam-fulfilling trick!  Such is the nature of a winkle.

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