Who laughs last, laughs best! by Peter Lund and Tommy Sandsmark

Peter Schaltz found himself, twice, in situations that required double (maybe even triple) thinking by the declarer.


E/W Vul.
Dealer North.

                           S QJ754
                           H 864
                           D Q96
                           C J2
               S 8                  S K6 2
               H AQ7                H KJT932
               D AJT7532            D 84
               C T5                 C Q8
                           S AT93
                           H 5
                           D K
                           C AK97643

          West       North        East      South
         Alocchi   D. Schaltz   Fiorini   P. Schaltz
                      Pass         2H         4C
          4NT! (1)    Pass         5D        Pass
          5H          Pass        Pass        5S (2)
          Pass        Pass         Dbl      All Pass
     (1)  Aces?
     (2)  Who are you kidding? I've certainly been here before!

West led the DA, then played the HA.  As you can see, South is always down one if West continues with another heart or a club, as South has absolutely no entries to dummy and will have to surrender a third trick to the SK, unless, West holds the bare SK! However, West played the DJ, giving South an entry to dummy with the DQ.  "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts", Peter thought.  There was only one possibility: West held the bare SK! He played a spade from the dummy - as Edgar Kaplan would have said, "Up went the Ace and down went the contract!"
The double thinking cost Denmark 3 imps, since the result at the other table was 5S undoubled, and West played another heart after having cashed his two red winners.

Later in the same match this hand turned up:

E/W Vul. Dealer East.

                           S T74
                           H AT43
                           D K5
                           C QJ93
                S 8532                S QJ9
                H KQJ8                H 765
                D 82                  D AQT643
                C 764                 C 2
                           S AK6
                           H 92
                           D J97
                           C AKT85

        West        North        East      South
     P. Schaltz   Soroldoni   D. Schaltz   Croci
                                 Pass       1NT
        Pass         2C          Pass        2D
        Pass        3NT          Pass       Pass
        Pass

Despite North's interest in the major suits, Peter Schaltz chose to attack hearts. However, in order to not reveal all his cards, he carefully led the HJ, showing the HQ, but denying the HK! South immediately took him for the Ace (East played the H6), played the CQ, C9 to the Ace and D7 to the King and the Ace.
Dorthe Schaltz, who knew that her husband and partner would have to hold another top honor, switched to the SQ, taken by South with the Ace, while Peter discouraged her with the S5.  Now followed the C8 to the Jack and D5 to the Queen. "Something is rotten in the State of Denmark!" Dorthe thought, and therefore she played the H7, and the end position was:

                            S T7
                            H T4
                            D -
                            C -
                  S 53                S J9
                  H K8                H 5
                  D -                 D T
                  C -                 C -
                            S K6
                            H -
                            D J
                            C T

Peter now played the H8!! South hesitated for quite some time, trying to figure out the total distribution, and then he lightened up. With a shrewd smile on his face, he demanded the H4 from dummy, as the suit would necessarily have to be blocked.  According to the information he possessed, East would have to hold the bare H K or the H K5!
But  "he who laughs last, laughs best." Peter got his revenge, and returned the smile as he defeated the contract with the H K. 10 imps to Denmark as Peter's teammates had played the same contract at the other table, though with North as declarer.  East led a diamond to the D9 in dummy, which gave the declarer his ninth trick.