Simple Logic, Indeed

By Buddy Marsh
Scottsdale, Arizona

A student once complained to me that her husband, a retired philosophy professor, wouldn’t take up bridge because he had “no card sense.” I replied, “Tell him there’s no such thing as ‘card sense.’ Unless ‘card’ is spelled C-O-M-M-O-N.”
Eventually he did sign up, and he devoured the basics. One day the prof came to me with an “interesting” hand. In third seat after two passes he held:
♠A53 ♥– ♦AKQJ98542 ♣Q
He opened 6♦! Everyone passed, LHO led the ♥K (playing king from A-K), and dummy tabled:
♠K72 ♥Q7643 ♦– ♣98542
As the prof explained, “I had 11 tricks with no sign of a twelfth, but I did have controls in all four suits. Remembering your advice to give the opponents the ball and hope that something good would happen, I pitched the ♣Q on the ♥A.” LHO shifted to a club, which declarer ruffed; he then played a flurry of trumps, coming down to:



When the prof now played his last diamond, LHO had to pitch a spade in order to keep his ♥A, dummy pitched the now useless ♥Q, and RHO also pitched a spade. Declarer now, perforce, played the king and ace of spades and was pleased to find that his five was now good.
The prof was aware that something odd had occurred, noting that “while my opponents berated each other for pitching spades, I realized that some sort of compression play had occurred, and neither opponent could keep three spades and guard the other suits.”

I congratulated him for executing a Double Squeeze, one of the most exciting plays in the game. (I did not explain how the opponents could have easily defeated the hand–one giant step at a time.) Then came the time to ask him the big question: “What prompted you to open 6♦?” “Simple logic,” he replied. “You’ve often said that if you hold a good eight card major and little else in third or fourth seat, a logical bid might be four of that major. Similarly, you’ve taught us that with a good nine card minor in the same position, an opening bid of five of the minor might well be the winning action. Well, here I had a solid nine card suit plus an outside ace, so the logical bid was six.” Simple Logic, Indeed!