Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rueful Rabbit can't count trumps

The animals at the Safari Club were excited. The club officials had decided to have a barometer game -- all boards would be played simultaneously and the players' score and position known after each round.

There was some controversy, however. "Doesn't it give the top players an edge?" asked The Owl? "They would know when to shoot for a top." Others disagreed.

With one round to go, the Rueful Rabbit and Molly the Mule were in contention to win. Neither were strong players -- so much for giving good players an edge. Sometimes agressive bidding is punished when trumps don't split and finesses lose.

Molly the Mule was the declarer in 6 on the last deal:

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

West led the K, taken by the ace. MM cashed two high spades to discard her diamond losers, then led a low heart to the king and another to the 10. When East showed out, she decided to cash the A and run spades. If West had to follow to two more of them, she could discard her club losers and concede a trump.

Unfortunately, West ruffed in immediately, and the slam could not be made.

The animals crowded around the Rueful Rabbit's table. All other pairs had finished, but the RR had played the first board of the round slowly. If he bid to 4 or 4, he would make the contract and win the event. This was not to be, however, as North drove to 6.

West led the K, as at the other table. Again, the RR played two rounds of spades to discard two diamonds. Then the Rabbit played a heart to his king and another to the 10 as East showed out.

"Oh, my," said the Rueful Rabbit. "Just my luck that West started with five trumps."

The rabbit decided to try and run spades. If West had to follow to enough of them, he could hold his losers to two trump tricks and settle for down one. West ruffed the spade that was led and played the Q, ruffed by the RR. He led a heart to the ace and continued running spades. He was amazed when West didn't ruff in. His spades were good! He'd made his slam!

At the bar later, the Hideous Hog was holding court. He loved wine and was working on a bottle of Pepperwood Grove Viognier.

"The Rueful Rabbit is amazing," said the hog. "He wins even when he can't count trumps. Because of that, he finds the only play to make his contract. The card gods look out for drunks and rabbits, I guess.

"This wine has many facets so the experience is not too straightforward; rather, it has an almost enigmatic side which makes it more fascinating and rewarding than most wine.

"Waiter! Another bottle."


  1. I don't know what the hell you're talking about, but you're a good writer and funny and it kept my interest!

    Thanks for your nice comment today.

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  2. I second Jacob's comment about great blog quality and the writing to keep us hooked even when we don't quite know what's going on.

    Any good suggestions for learning the game of bridge? It seems so complex, I'm pretty sure I'd really enjoy it. At the very least, it'd give me a clue as to what goes on in your bridge posts.

  3. Nicely done! I used to try an occasional piece writing as "Victor Mellow."

    BTW, I have original prints of the four Mollo characters hanging in my family room.

  4. @Thorn: Bridge is a complex game if you want to play it well. Having said that, you can download some free software (you have to give them an e-mail address) here: