Ross Taylor

Seems like everyone wants to make the New York Times

Last night in the Canadian Team Trials a classic situation arose where the opening leader against six spades had an eight card heart suit of AKQJ10954 and a side void, and just about everyone holding those cards in that situation made the opening lead of the heart 4! Results varied somewhat though.





Dealer: south

Vul: both

West East
106 8
AKQJ10954 832
void 87542
864 KJ95

In several matches, the result of +100 for EW was a push. Both tables bid up to 6 spades on a highly competitive auction; both wests led their 8th best heart, and partner won the heart eight; looked around for a while, and gave west a diamond ruff for down 1.

Some wests got creative in the bidding to optimize their chances of success. Michael Roche heard one spade on his right; four hearts by him; four spades from his LHO. East decided to lead direct and bid five clubs! South bid five diamonds, and Michael bid six diamonds ! When the opponents then bid six spades, all passed, and he ignored his partner John Rayner’s five club call and of course led the heart four for down 1.

In these situations, time stands still for a few seconds as you see the stiff seven in dummy and await third hand’s play with major league trepidation.

One player is still waiting, as his partner decided to give count (!) on the opening lead and carefully played the deuce of hearts under dummy’s seven. Clearly this hand is a resounding endorsement of upside down signals as this could never happen to such players, unless they chose to play a miserly heart three !

Another west decided to seek fame a different way by overcalling (psyching) two diamonds over south’s two club opening bid ! He maintains to this minute he had much going for him. And he did, except when the opponents bid up to six spades and his partner won the heart eight at trick one – he was completely confused by this play and must have decided declarer had suffered a brain cramp or something. So he shifted to a non diamond, and six spades came home!

In our match against the tough Thurston team, the hand was far less titillating. Keith bid four hearts over south’s one spade. East bid four spades; I bid five hearts; south bid six spades, and Keith took out insurance with a seven heart bid. This only went down two for -500 when the defense did not find their club ruff.

At the other table, south bid five spades over east’s five hearts, and played it there. Plus 680 resulted in a quiet five imp gain for our side.

I know I will hear more stories about this hand today, and I will post the more interesting ones later on. But in the meantime, the lesson for all you kids reading this is very simple – THIRD HAND HIGH !


Bobby WolffJune 1st, 2010 at 8:49 am

Hi Ross,

This theme has been used and reused for many years, but only you have captured its intensity and rhythm.

Even though you are undoubtedly an excellent bridge player, your bridge writing talents exceed your playing.

Whatever one’s opinion will be, there is not a doubt that starting with the Hungarian Darvas and then whoever may be considering a 3d reprise of “Right Through the Pack”, we now know what the tale of the eight of hearts will be.

That confounded eight better be rejoicing properly now, but if not, we need to threaten him by suggesting that declarer’s singleton heart be substituted for with the not so lowly nine.

Dave Memphis MOJOJune 1st, 2010 at 11:40 am

Funny post, thanks for sharing.

Actually, shouldn’t West lead the 5 of hearts? You should try your best to let him know which suit you are void in.

David GordonJune 1st, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Agreed. 5 of Hearts shows diamond void and 4 of hearts shows club void

Ross TaylorJune 1st, 2010 at 9:44 pm

you guys are too much :))

Cam FrenchJune 2nd, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Nice story Ross.

I noticed you kindly failed to name the miscreant who failed to play his 8 H.

It seems that after such an auction, and lead, one might realize the importance of said card.

Reminds me when Edgar told the story of Norman leading from his kH, and he played the J from QJ xx and he said later he owed his partner the courtesy of playing the Q, so he wouldn’t suffer for the millisecond ….

It was of course the killing lead.

I would prefer to be nameless too for that one.



JurekJune 2nd, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Nice post Ross. 🙂

BTW, good luck in the semis,


Bobby WolffJune 3rd, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Hi Ross,

So far, at least, as I can determine, you and your partner, Keith, have been the shining stars in the event. Both of you have been taking your tricks and your bidding, particularly in the slam zone, has been on target. One more hill to climb so keep on chuggin….

Judy Kay-WolffJune 3rd, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Hi Ross:

Tomorrow is our bridge day — so I can only root in the morning. Sew it up early so I

can go into battle with peace of mind.



Jude GoodwinJune 4th, 2010 at 12:22 am

funny post Ross – I hope you’ll let me print this in our upcoming Bridge Canada magazine!

Jude GoodwinJune 4th, 2010 at 12:28 am

Actually, could I post it on the website?

Roman KleinJune 4th, 2010 at 6:17 am

Hi Ross

Great story. Well done. Good luck in Semis.


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