The Hypothetical King by Brian Glubok



                            S  K 6 4

Dlr: South                  H  10 8 6 5

Vul: Both                   D  A J 8 7

                            C  6 4

          S  A 9 8 7 5 3                 S  Q 10 2

          H  A 7 2                       H  K Q 3

          D  K 3                         D  Q 2

          C  Q 10                        C  9 8 7 5 2

                            S  J

                            H  J 9 4

                            D  10 9 6 5 4

                            C  A K J 3


The bidding was straightforward; I made a light takeout double after Don Krauss raised 1S to two; not-vulnerable and  holding a singleton spade, I treat their auction as forcing. Bob, with extra spade length, re-raised to three, which ended the bidding. Kyle, holding a likely trump control, found the killing lead of his small doubleton club.


From my point of view it was possible to play one or two rounds of clubs and shift to a diamond to build a trick for partner's hypothetical king, but I decided my best chance for tricks was in the trump suit, so I played three rounds of clubs, partly to kill one of dummy's potential winners in that suit.


Bob, to his subsequent chagrin, began to read the cards. "Glubok doubled as a passed hand," he thought, "Gotta play him for a singleton spade. Maybe I should ruff with the ace and lead up to dummy. No, what if Kyle flies with the king of trumps and crosses to the ace of diamonds and they play a fourth club to promote the jack of spades.

No, can't happen, that would give the kid an opening bid."


So Bob ruffed with the ace and ran the 7, losing to my singleton jack. Playing me for a small singleton rather than the singleton jack, Bob figured he was a 2-1 favorite.


"Two-to-one favorites don't always hit," I might have reminded the SCA Chairman. "You want a sure thing? Stick to insuring those 60-footers from the opposing foul line." (Over the decade that SCA has conducted that particular promotion, randomly selected audience contestants at basketball games attempting that shot are one for 1300, ka-ching....)