Bridge by Phillip Alder 1-15-92

Once the underlying logic of bridge has been mastered, most hands can be played on autopilot.  The 'normal" play usually works.  However, a deal occasionally comes along to trap the unwary, sorting out the expert from the amateur.

The Chief of Control studied today's hand carefully.  He came up with the correct defense and stopped Kaos from winning the fifth rubber of the match.

Siegfried, the German head of Kaos, opened with a textbook weak two-bid in hearts.  His partner, Simon the Likable, jumped immediately to game.  Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, led the club six, the Chief winning with the ace.

The defenders needed to win four tricks to defeat the contract.  With luck, thought the Chief, they had two in clubs.  He was guaranteed a third trick with the heart king.  The fourth would have to come from spades.  If Max had the ace, there was nothing to worry about.  But if Max had the king, time was of the essence.

Accurately the Chief switched to the spade nine, the high card denying an honor in the suit.  Siegfried had little alternative but to finesse.  After winning with the spade king, Max cashed the club king.  Later declarer took the trump finesse, but that lost too and he was one down.

"Ja, zat vos good defense, Chief," said Siegfried magnanimously.  "If you return a club at trick two, I make zee hand.  Shmart cannot lead a shpade, and eventually my loser goes avay on dummy's diamonds."

Even now, Simon the Likable smiled.

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