"The Fourteenth Trump"

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Joe Andrews
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"The Fourteenth Trump"

Post by Joe Andrews » Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:39 pm

"The Trump That Came In From The Cold"!

The original Grand Prix Spades Tournament was called "Vegas 99". It featured a 275 player field, and some tremendous players. The hand illustrated below is most interesting. The West player bids a borderline Nil, and when the round of bidding is over, his Team is threatening to win the game. The opponents attack the Nil with great energy, exploring the off suits, and then keying on spades. East, the cover hand, analyzes the plays, and is finally forced to utilize the services of South's eight of spades! Thus, there is a trump "mole", a "double agent" spade in the South hand, who helps to cover the enemy Nil. Watch the eight of spades as it defects over to the East / West side.... South is the Dealer, and West has the first bid / opening lead.

NORTH - Spades - A 10 7; Hearts - A J 9 6 4; Diamonds - 2; Clubs - A K 10 6

EAST - Spades - J 5 4 3; Hearts - 10 8 5 2; Diamonds - A K; Clubs - J 8 5

SOUTH - Spades - K Q 8; Hearts - K Q; Diamonds - Q 10 9 8 7 4; Clubs - 9 7

WEST - Spades - 9 6 2; Hearts - 7 3; Diamonds - J 6 5 3; Clubs - Q 4 3 2
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The Score: N/S 394; E/W 373

The Bidding: West - Nil; North - 5; East - 3; South - 3

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West led his six of diamonds to his partner's King and South's seven spot. (The heart seven may have been a better choice; however, the text lead was quite acceptable). The Ace of diamonds was a natural continuation, drawing the eight, Jack, and a ten of spades "cut" by North. His next lead, the heart Ace was a very curious play, as it seemingly helped West. This fetched the deuce, King and seven. Next came the heart four, and East rose with the ten, as South won the Queen. The club nine opened this suit (A low diamond shift by South would have been better), as West ducked, and North's King won (East dropped the five spot). It became obvious to the defense that the spade suit would decide the hand. Accordingly, North took the Ace of clubs, as East played low, and South's seven completed the "hi-low". West gladly heaved the Queen! The ten of clubs removed East's holding in that suit, and South ruffed with the King of Spades. The diamond Queen allowed North to trump with his Ace of spades, as East dumped a low heart. And a fourth round of clubs, drew another low heart pitch by East, as South cut with the spade Queen. Do you see the pattern here? The "big boys" were getting out of the way! South pumped another diamond through West, and North played his last spade. This time, East underruffed with the three. The hand was reduced to this:

NORTH - Hearts - J 9 6

EAST - Spades - J 5 4

SOUTH - Spades - 8; Diamonds - 8 4

WEST - Spades - 9 6 2


North, with an immaterial hand, was on lead, and heart six was tabled. East impulsively reached for the Jack of spades, and then paused for thought. The key trump that were still outstanding were the NINE and EIGHT. Had North had any more trump, he would have likely bid six with a four card spade suit. If West had the nine AND eight of trump (together) in his hand, the Nil was lost. If these cards were separated, then there was play for the Nil. The Jack of spades play would have been a grievous error, as West is trapped with the SIX (the Master trump)! Thus, East trumped with the FIVE. South was now in a bind. If he overruffed with his eight, West would calmly deposit the SIX under the eight, and East's J - 4 picks up the 9 - 2. If South tossed a diamond instead of trumping, then West now (and rather delicately, at that) deposits the deuce under the fivespot. An "en passant" play, no less! East's four of spades lead then snags the "stiff" eight, as West sheds the six. The Nil rolls home!

In actuality, South ruffed with his lone trump, a sacrifice of sorts.

And, the "mole" eight of spades came over to the E/W side, as it picked up the six.

I wonder how many players would have made the natural "cover" play of the Jack of spades, instead of the more accurate play of a low spade from the East seat? :mrgreen:
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