Ted's Bridge World Dante's Infernal

Y2K Revisited?

An unusual opportunity was offered the South player in the Thursday morning duplicate:

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Opening lead: H5

Making a weak-two bid with the south cards was standard fare for this particular player, renowned for his unorthodox actions.  His partner's competitive raise to the 3-level was unfathomable; a bid of 6 would have been more realistic than 3.  South's red-against-white rebid was insane as well.  (Do you see how wired this pair is?  One player underbids by a couple of tricks, the other overbids by a couple of tricks, and it all works out!)

After discarding a spade on dummy's heart ace, declarer should have stopped to consider the situation.  East surely would not have made his 4 contract; therefore, going down in 5 doesn't rate to win any matchpoints.  If LHO has two trump tricks, then nothing can be done.  If, however, diamonds should split 2-2, then the contract has a chance.  Either way, declarer simply calls for the ace of diamonds at trick two, then leads another diamond.  When the trumps do divide evenly, the contract is virtually in the bag.

Winning west's club shift in hand as a heart is discarded from dummy, south plays a spade to the king.  When east takes his ace perforce, declarer can spread his hand; for now nothing can prevent him from establishing and cashing dummy's fifth spade for the game-going trick.  A finesse for the spade jack wasn't even necessary.  Making five diamonds redoubled would have garnered north and south an even 1,000 points!

Today, however, declarer's brain apparently was vacationing on the same remote planet as his partner's.  At trick two, he called for the king of spades.  East won and returned a high heart.  South trumped, but to no avail.  The defenders promptly crossruffed in the majors, scoring three trump tricks.  That was down two for the same 1,000 points — for the opponents, that is.

How else could one achieve this rare coup of blowing exactly 2,000 points on a single play?  And where else but at Dante's Infernal would it be likely to happen?

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Note:  Yes, declarer could have held his losses by discarding his remaining spade on east's heart lead, thereby going down only one.  But then I would not have had this story to tell.

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