Friday, November 13, 2009

Rueful Rabbit plays slowly and carefully

This was the last board played at the Safari Club's annual Charity Game. The winning pair would get their names inscribed on the prestigious Ostrich Egg Trophy.

K Q 10 7
Q 7 6
A 5 4
6 5 2
3 2
A K J 10 4 2 9 8 5 3
J 9 3 Q 10 7 6
A 9 3 Q J 10 8
A J 9 8 6 5 4
K 8 2
K 7 4

The auction was the same at all tables. South opened 1, West overcalled 2 and North cuebid 3 (showing a limit raise or better). When East bid 4, South had an easy 4 call.

The play was short and sweet at most tables. West led the K, ruffed. Declarer drew the outstanding trumps with one lead, and advanced a club from the table. The defense collected three clubs and was sure to take a diamond -- down one.

The Rueful Rabbit was playing slower than usual, and his was the last table to play. His partner was Polly Peacock. She hadn't yelled at him once, so he was trying to play slowly and carefully. The RR didn't know if that meant he was playing better than usual, or that she was nicer than most of his partners. As it happened, the Rabbit was in contention for first place! If he won, wouldn't that be amazing?

West led the K, low from dummy, low from East and the declarer, the Rueful Rabbit, dropped a diamond on the table. "Oops, I meant to ruff," he said.

The Tournament Director was called, and the ruling was that a played card is a played card -- his misplay had to stand. Polly Peacock didn't say anything, but she gave him a look.

West shifted to a diamond. The RR felt the pressure. He won in hand, played a trump the king, ruffed a heart, then played a diamond to the ace.

"How can I recover?" the RR asked himself. Well, he thought, I'm not down yet. He ruffed a diamond in hand. Now what? He didn't know what to do, so stalled by leading a trump to the board.

Is that Q good, he wondered. Yes, I believe it is, he thought. So, the Rueful Rabbit led it and discarded the 4 from his hand. West won this with the ace, but was now endplayed. A ruff-sluff would be trick 10, and a club exit would mean the Rabbit's K would be good. Either way, the RR made his contract and won the event!

After the game, the Hideous Hog was holding court in the restaurant. The other animals loved to listen to his postmortem. The HH was drinking a bottle of 1995 Chteau Margaux. "The fragrance is so passionate," he announced. "This vineyard has learned the art of creating a hint of youthful spicy aroma -- just exquisite."

"The Rueful Rabbit is amazing," proclaimed the Hog. "He can barely follow suit, and isn't even capable of ruffing a loser. Yet, I have to admit he wins more than his ability would say. Perhaps he was born under a good sign -- the stars watch out for the little fellow. There's something in that."

"I'm thirsty!" exclaimed the Hog. "Waiter! Another bottle."


  1. Was this one of Paul Lukacs' hands?

  2. Seems a little antipositional to me.

  3. The four hands came from the international bridge press assn. They encourage use w/I attribution. The writeup is mine.