An unusual opportunity was offered the South player in the Thursday morning duplicate:
Opening lead: 5
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
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
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
for the opponents, that is.
How else could one achieve this rare coup of blowing exactly
on a single play? And where else but at Dante's Infernal would it be likely
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.