Breaking the Rules

Cathy Chua

When I first saw the following opening lead problem, it entranced me. Reese was on lead to 4S in the 1964 Olympiad with

S Q 9 4
H 10 9 6 5 4 3
D Q 8
C A Q

He knew that dummy was strong and balanced, around 20 HCP, and that declarer had five spades. Anybody for the pedestrian heart lead? Not Reese. He began with the queen of clubs. (If you haven't already read the extract which discusses this opening lead, please go there now).

The idea of this opening lead quite took my fancy and I waited for some years to try it at the table. At last my moment came. Playing a combined scoring of IMPs and point-a-board I picked up

S Q 6
H Q 10 9 7 5
D J 10 9 3
C A Q

After partner passed first in hand, RHO opened a weak two spades, LHO enquired and after discovering that partner had a minimum signed off in 3S. I had really been hoping for a more momentous occasion for my spectacular lead but could hardly spurn the opportunity. So, the queen of clubs hit the table and dummy was revealed....


  NORTH
S A 10 2
H A 8
D Q 6 5 4
C K 9 8 2
WEST
S Q 6
H Q 10 9 7 5
D J 10 9 3
C A Q
  EAST
S 9 5
H K J 6
D K 7
C J 10 7 6 5 3
  SOUTH
S K J 8 7 4 3
H 4 3 2
D A 8 2
C 4

That declarer won the king of clubs at trick one was by no means the worst news. Next ace and another heart saw my partner in. 'Knowing' that I held the ace of diamonds (because declarer was 'known' to have the ace of clubs) he shifted to the king of diamonds in order to announce his ruff before delivering my 'known' club ruff. After the score-up at the end of the match, my teammates really didn't seem in the mood for an explanation of how it was possible to take so few tricks in the minors with our cards. I am hoping they will have a little sympathy if they read this story....