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Today’s deal is about 35 years old, reported by Prof. J.P. Singhal of Roorkee, Uttarakhand, who was on the west seat. An ardent reader of The Hindu, he is a keen bridge player and analyst.
The declarer was Professor Chand Mal, who had excelled in academics as well as in sports and other mind games in the Thomason College of Engineering, Roorkee. He was an ICS topper of 1934 batch. While posted at Benares as City Magistrate, in 1941, came the crash. Chand Mal's mind tripped, resulting in his premature retirement from the ICS. After treatment at a mental asylum, he served in his alma mater in Roorkee till 1972. He died in 1993. Chand Mal was a human being first, and a human being last, par excellence.
Contract: 4H by south. West leads the SQ.
Bidding comment: NS had a part score and hence the circuitous bidding.
Analysis: It appears that you have three losers in diamonds and one in clubs.
How the play went: Declarer won the opening lead with the ace and played the CQ from hand. West won and played a second spade. Winning the spade continuation, declarer cashed HA, felling the king on his left. Entering dummy by the HJ, declarer ruffed a spade. He cashed the CK next and ruffed a club.The last five-card position was:
With a smile on his face, declarer turned to west and said: “You were shy to play a diamond to start with and also at trick three. Okay. Now, I lead it for you.” East won with the king and was end played to give a ruff and discard! If west plays the ace, dummy's jack will be raised to a trick. The complete hands were:
Discussion: When west, asked declarer why he played the CQ at trick two, he replied: “Playing CQ keeps the chances of you switching to a diamond to about a third. If I had unblocked the other spade and cashed the trump ace, it would have reduced your choice of plays and consequently increased the chances of finding the diamond switch to 50 per cent or even more, for you would have learnt more about the hand by then.” Often, declarer plans to restrict a defender’s choice of leads... but in this case, it is just the opposite: give more freedom. A great idea and very well executed by Chand Mal.
Keywords: bridge game