THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder

The best writer of humorous bridge articles is David Bird from England. His stories about the monks of St. Titus blend interesting deals with entertaining text. In the 11th book in the series, “The Abbot, the Witchdoctor and the Disastrous Double” (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), we also travel to Africa, where missionaries have been trying to convert natives to the Acol bidding system.
In this deal from the book, how can South make six hearts after a trump lead?
The Abbot, sitting West, greatly overestimates his own bridge ability and underestimates his opponents’. He is also usually stodgy in the bidding, but down in a match to a team he expected to beat easily (as always) and at favorable vulnerability, he opened with a subpar weak two-bid. Then North made a debatable takeout double, and South jumped to the slam.
Given that the spade finesse was losing, there seemed to be only 11 tricks: one spade, five hearts, four diamonds and one club. But the declarer saw he could get home if West had precisely 6-2-2-3 distribution.
After carefully taking the first trick in his hand (he needed dummy’s jack as a later entry), he ducked a club, playing a low club from both his hand and the dummy. East won and shifted to the spade jack, but South won with his ace and cashed the heart ace. Next, he played off his four diamond tricks, discarding a club from his hand. Then he took dummy’s club ace, ruffed a club in his hand, returned to dummy with a trump, cashed the last club (discarding his spade queen), and won the final trick with his remaining trump.

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