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Shout at the Devil

Shout at the Devil

By In 16th World Bridge Series On 31st August 2022

Rixi Markus was a member of the Great Britain team that won the World Mixed Teams Championship in 1962. As a defender she maintained that there might be a way to defeat an apparently unassailable contract – as long as you were good enough to find it. She would have loved this deal from the Round of 32 in the Mixed Teams in the match between Coriandre and Reason:

You find yourself declaring 4Picche after a simple sequence:

West leads the Fiori5, you put up the king, and East wins with the ace. If East plays another club your basic plan will be to ruff, play a heart to the king and if it holds return to hand with a spade to play a second heart.

However, what if East returns the Quadri8 at trick 2?

The devil seems to have produced the killing switch, finding partner with something like {AJ10x(x) in the suit. However, you spot a countermeasure and play the queen of diamonds from your hand, hoping to cut the defender’s communications.

When the queen holds you play a heart, but West wins with the ace and returns a diamond.

That sees East win two tricks in the suit, so you are one down.

This was the layout:

It was Pierre Schmidt who found the devilish switch to the Quadri8. He realized at trick one that prospects for defeating the contract were not good. The best chance seemed to be to find partner with something like QuadriQ9xx, and a quick trick in spades (the king… would declarer refuse the finesse before playing three rounds of hearts?) or even better in hearts (the ace).

He was about to play the Quadri10 when he realized that the {8 would be good enough and also that if the actual position existed declarer was an excellent player who would probably think of inserting the queen of diamonds.


About the Author

Mark Horton
Mark Horton

Mark Horton British journalist and expert player, was Editor of Bridge Magazine 1995-2017 and now edits the online publication Bridgerama+. At one time, his business cards were inscribed: Have Cards will Travel, but following the death of his most famous sponsor, the Rabbi Leonard Helman, he has tended to concentrate on his writing exploits (in 2018 he had five books published!). Anyone wanting to discover how to lose at bridge on a regular basis (and pay for the privilege) should feel free to contact him. He currently lives in Shrewsbury with his wife Liz.