Time is Money
Anyone who has ever played bridge with (or even against me)
knows I like to grumble. When it comes to rubber bridge, I
have special reason to complain I'm a truly bad card
holder. I play at the Regency Whist Club in NY as a host
at games ranging from 1¢ to 10¢. I also make up the numbers
in the big game but not for my own money.
On the first deal of the 10¢ game,
I have no reason to complain.
I hold AK62 QJ3 A73 AK10, and partner opens 1!
The bidding continues:
RHO leads the 10 out of turn.
This can't be bad.
I have five choices.
Partner is a competent player, but I opt to
forbid a spade lead. Despite Goldwater's Rule
(a player who doesn't know whose lead it is
probably isn't making a good one), any lead
other than a spade looks good for me.
- forbid a spade lead
- require a spade lead
- make the 10 a penalty card and let LHO lead what he likes
- allow the play to continue and put dummy down
- let partner put the dummy down and continue play
Grumbling, LHO leads a club, and I make 12 tricks easily.
The whole hand is
LHO starts shouting at RHO for leading out of turn.
I ask whether he was going to lead a spade without the
infraction. "No," he said, so I ask him what he is
complaining about. Now RHO starts yelling about
the club lead, "if you lead a heart you set it!"
I throw some oil on troubled fires by suggesting that
a diamond might have been the more normal lead since
I sounded short there...now a good guess sees me home at T1.
"What do you play from dummy at trick one on the 2 lead?"
"The 9 looks right to me I think, but who knows?"
"You'll play the Q and I'll duck," he riposted.
"Now you have no chance." It takes me a little while to
work out the come-back.
Remarkably I can recover after playing the Q, ducked,
without doing anything absurd but by producing a fascinating ending.
The normal line is to win the Q, cash the A, lead the Q to the king,
and play a club planning to finesse. When RHO shows out, I win the K,
run the hearts (pitching a spade from hand), and cash the high spades,
leaving this position:
I lead the 10 from hand and the complainer is pickled.
If he wins, he either exits with a diamond giving me
two diamond tricks and an entry to the J, or he exits
with a club, bringing my J to life and squeezing his
partner at the same time! If he ducks the 10, I have
a choice of pretty plays. I can overtake with the J
and exit with a club, which performs both the squeeze
and the endplay; I have a choice how to win the last trick!
Or I can stay in hand with the 10 and endplay RHO
with a spade; he has been strip-squeezed on the 10!
I very carefully point out all the gory details to
my opponents, of course. LHO shouts back, "time is
money! Deal the next hand!"
Copyright © 2006 Barry Rigal