Problem no. 25, 2005


The problem

I first saw the following problem in the world's best bridge magazine, The Bridge World, a couple of years ago. I found it very funny – I bet you do too. The deal isn't changed (but I don't guarantee I remember all spot cards...), but I have rewritten the story.

South dealer, both sides vulnerable

H J 10 4 3
D J 10 4 3
C J 10 4 3
S Q J 10 9 8 Table S 2
H Q 9 5 2 H A 8 7 6
D 9 2 D A 8 7 6
C 9 2 C A 8 7 6
S A 7 6 5 4 3
D K Q 5
C K Q 5

"This must surely be an error", said John Johnson when he wrote down his own result on the scoring slip, 2 spades down one, and noted that pair No. 14 had made two overtricks in the same contract, doubled to boot, against pair No. 8. "East-West have three cashing aces and three 100% sure trump tricks. Even if East-West let South score his king of hearts, they can never take more than eight tricks. +1070 simply has to be an error."

John managed to find pair No. 8, but when he wondered if the result was correctly entered, Peter Peterson calmy answered: "You are the fifth who asks. The result is correct. Imagine that one single error could have such consequences!" Then he told John what had happened on the board.

My question is simply: What did happen at Peter's table?


I think most bridge players sometimes have thought a heart was a diamond, or the opposite. This is what happened:

West led the queen of spades, won in dummy, and in an effort to score the king of hearts, South played the jack of hearts to the second trick. East wasn't fooled, though; he went up ace and led the ace of clubs to the third trick.

"Wait a miniute", South said, "I won the last trick". And when they checked the previous trick, East noted that he hadn't played the ace of hearts, as he thought, but the ace of diamonds. The tournament director was called. He began by explaining that since East had could have followed suit but had played a card to the following trick, the revoke was established. Then he noted that the king of hearts had won the second trick, and South should have been on lead. East's ace of clubs was therefore a lead out of turn, and since it was an honor it became a major penalty card, which should be left face up at the table to be played the first time East has a legal opportunity to do so.

In the third trick South played his ace of spades, and since East had no more spades, he simply had to play his penalty card, the ace of clubs. Therefore, East didn't score any of his three aces. The defenders made West's three trump tricks, but that was all. Ten tricks to North-South.

But when the director after the deal said the result should be 1070 to North-Soth he made an error. Since a revoke had been made by East-West, one trick should have been transferred to North-South, so the result should have been 2 spades doubled with three overtricks; 1270 to North-South...

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