Both vulnerable. South deals.
xK 9 7 5
vK 9 4 2
wJ 5 2
x10 8 6 2 xJ 4 3
uJ 7 3 u10 9 6 4 2
vJ 6 v10 8 7 5 3
wK 10 8 6 wVoid
uA K 8
wA Q 9 7 4 3
SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST
2w Pass 2NT Pass
3w Pass 4w Pass
6w Pass Pass Pass
Opening lead: Two of x
The most successful club in the afterlife was Lucifer’s Netherworld Club — after all, where else would you expect to find the largest population of bridge players?
Among its star members was England’s Henry VIII, who showed the same ruthlessness at the card table as he did in his days as one of England’s most notorious monarchs. Rumor has it that this is his favorite hand.
The bidding was not scientific. Two clubs was an artificial game force, and the rest of the auction was natural.
Not knowing how to proceed, the monarch simply jumped to six clubs, knowing that he could be missing a grand slam but hoping that North would raise with extra values for his positive response, including the king of trumps.
West led the deuce of spades, and as soon as dummy appeared, King Henry realized that the contract was safe as long as West did not hold all four missing trumps. He won the first trick in hand with the ace and immediately cashed the ace of clubs, to learn the bad news.
Now declarer had to reduce his trumps to the same length as West’s, then engineer an endplay.
“Off with her head,” roared the king as he sent the queen of spades to her doom. She was overtaken with the king of spades and a spade was ruffed in the closed hand.
A heart to the queen per- mitted another spade ruff, and declarer’s trumps were down to the same length as West’s. Now the endplay situation had to be created.
Henry cashed the ace-king of hearts and ace of diamonds, then led the queen of diamonds. “Off with her head, too,” barked the king.
The table’s king won the trick and a diamond was returned, declarer ruffing with the queen. West could do no better than overruff and return a club, but whether it was a high or low club made no difference — the last two tricks belonged to His Royal Majesty.
2013 Tribune Media Services