Ted's Bridge World Dante's Infernal

The Worst Bridge Play Ever

With some regularity I show up at the bridge club with a story that I claim will illustrate "the worst play in the history of the game", or words to that effect.  My friends smile and listen patiently to my tale, knowing that it invariably will fall somewhat short of actually detailing the worst bid or play ever.

All that has changed, however; for last week an opponent treated me to a defensive maneuver so amazing that it is not possible, as far as I am concerned, to make a more horrendous play.

Mind you, my intent is not to make my opponent feel bad; but any record-breaking performance merits some publicity.  I frequently write about both the greatest and the poorest plays that I have seen; this one just happens to be unique, in that it surely at least ties the record for:

The Worst Play in the History of Contract Bridge

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West leads the ace of diamonds, then switches to the queen of clubs — a dangerous play in itself.  Clearly, it will take some sort of minor miracle to avoid a heart loser and make this hand.  Interestingly enough, there actually is a legitimate play for the contract.  Assuming that the heart king is onside, then if LHO's clubs include the nine-spot, a squeeze can be arranged.

After taking the club king, a diamond is ruffed high in dummy and two rounds of trumps are drawn with the king and queen.  The queen is diamonds is ruffed and the ace of clubs is cashed.  Then two more rounds of trumps are played off, to this position:

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Now, the lead of the last spade compels west to unguard one of her suits.  Well-played, that would have been.  But that's not what happened, and west didn't hold the club nine anyway.  Apparently suffering from yet another Senior Moment of my own, I overlooked that opportunity; instead, I opted for some sort of discarding error.

Winning the club switch with the ace, I cashed four rounds of trumps immediately, then led a heart to west's king and dummy's ace.  A club to the king was followed by a diamond ruff; but the king of that suit did not drop.  Pshaw.  Now dummy's last club was ruffed and a heart played to the ace.  This is what remained:

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Resigned to my fate, I played off dummy's five of spades.  After significant deliberation, west finally pitched the jack of hearts!  Making six.  The poor lady then said that she thought I was in my hand.

Life at Dante's Infernal is so predictably unpredictable.

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