Besides, He Misdefended

Our district runs a special team sectional to raise money for our Grand National Teams competitors. I think that's a good cause, so I try to play the whole weekend. This year, we won all the events we played, which was nice.

After the final match on Sunday, the director comes up to us and wants our opinion about a ruling and possible appeals case. We suggest that if there will be an appeal, he should just do it now before we leave. "No," he says, "it will have to be after the session." "We are not willing to stay here for sixteen more boards just in case there's an appeal, sorry." "So you might as well look at the hand."

We do. Fortunately, he's overlooked a law that massively simplifies the case; it's really not a case of judgment at all, but a straight laws ruling. I supply this argument; the director says, "of course." I add, referring to the potential appellant, "besides, he misdefended. He should have beaten the hand anyway." This was the hand:

S: 10986
H: AQ109532
D: Q8
S: K
H: KJ64
D: J92
C: AKQ43
H: 87
D: AK109543
C: 62
S: A75432
D: 7
C: J109875
The bidding was a mess and caused the possible laws problem, but South reached 6S: doubled after implying a huge two suiter in the blacks. West foolishly led a high club and the slam was wrapped.

All at once, the group replies to my claim of misdefense, "yeah, I would have led a diamond, but that's not really misdefense." "Yeah, it is. And a diamond works this time, but it's wrong. I'd lead a trump. We have all the side suits controlled; how is declarer taking tricks except with trumps?" "He can still make it, then; he can ruff a club to dummy and toss his diamond on the H:A." "Except that I duck the first club! Does he ruff that? If so, he has to lose a trump and a club, since he'll only have two trumps to ruff out my three high clubs." "No, he can just pitch a diamond from dummy." "He won't, of course; he'll just ruff, but let's say he pitches. So he plays a second club, right? I duck that, too! Now, if he ruffs another club, partner overruffs and plays a diamond, tapping dummy. Declarer can pitch a club on the H:A, but I'm still taking a club trick. Down one!"

I've never seen a play like this before. It seems straight out of a par contest, but it was really dealt.

Copyright © 2009 Jeff Goldsmith