Robert Sheehan describes this deal which was played in the London bridge club TGR.
Declarer lost his focus for a moment and literally paid a high price because the contract was played at a high stakes table.
|N/All||♠||J 6|| |
| ||♥||K 9 5 4|
|♦||K J 7 6|
|♣||J 9 8|
|♠||Q 5 4 3||♠||A 10 9 2|
|♥||8 6 3||♥||Q|
|♦||-||♦||9 8 5 3 2|
|♣||A K Q 5 4 2||♣||10 7 6|
| ||♠||K 8 7|| |
|♥||A J 10 7 2|
|♦||A Q 10 4|
|pass|| || || |
West led ♣2...
His intention is clear: he hoped his partner, who had supported this suit, would win the trick with ♣J. Once recovered from the shock, east would realise what was happening ('why is partner so desperate to have me on the lead?') and return a diamond (the lowest suit left outside the trump suit, because that was what west was asking for by leading his lowest club).
With all hands open we can see west's scheme was bound to fail since north had ♣J, not east. But see what happened. South obviously had lost his concentration for a moment and was not aware of what was (possibly) happening. Thoughtlessly he ordered dummy to play a small club! East covered with ♣10 and to his amazement saw south follow suit with ♣3.
East indeed realised what west intended and switched to ♦9. By playing this relatively high diamond he asked west to return the highest suit, spades (both west's lead and east's switch were suit preference signals therefore). West ruffed, played a spade and got a second ruff, resulting in an unlikely one down.
Many times since south has been reminded of this deal... (the fact that EW can make 4♠ was little comfort).
The following tale is told about two professionals in a comparable situation. In a rubber match they were EW (in rubber bridge the winner of a trick gathers together the four cards of the trick).
South played 4♥ and the club suit was distributed as follows:
| ||♣||7 6|| |
|♣||A K Q J 10 5 4||♣||8 3 2|
| ||♣||9|| |
Here too west (pro 1) tried to get his partner in the lead: he led ♣4.
Dummy played ♣6, east ♣8 and south ♣9. East swiftly gathered the four clubs and switched to the suit his partner could trump.
To this day south does not know he won the first trick with ♣9...