Rien ne va plus!

by Giles Woodruff

Play on the hand from the front page was rational, if not necessarily optimal. You should by now have placed your bets as to who won the second round of trumps, with which card, and on which trick, and it's too late to change your mind.

3s by West
S 642
H AK10976
D K7
C J9
hK led
S Q1087
D 86
C AKQ1082
W        E
S K95
H 83
D AQJ542
C 64
H Q542
D 1093
C 753

North won the first trick and tried to cash a second round, which West ruffed. West cashed two top clubs and then took the diamond finesse, followed by cashing the ace. When that held she attempted a cross-ruff. First a diamond ruff. Then a club ruff. Then a diamond ruff. Then a club ruff with the nine ...and an over-ruff with South's jack. Now at trick eleven South drew declarer's and dummy's last trump with the ace (North following with the four) and then played a heart, which North ruffed high with the six (having discarded four hearts during the cross-ruff). At last, at trick thirteen, North led his two of spades to South's three.

I confess -- it wasn't quite like that at the table: the four and three of spades were interchanged. But otherwise it all happened and I have never seen anything like it before (obviously I don't play enough).