Too Much, Too Early

The Hideous Hog isn’t one of nature’s kibitzers. “Why should I watch others,” he often says, “when they would be so much better employed watching me?” And yet, next to crushing Papa the Greek himself, what could be more enjoyable than to see him crushed by another? Here is a hand which the Hog sat out, but which he wouldn’t have missed for anything:

Dlr: West ♠ 2
Vul: All A Q 9 8
A J 6 2
♣ A Q 10 8
♠ A K J 10 ♠ 5 4 3
K J 10 7 3 2
Q 8 5 10 9 7
♣ K J 9 7 ♣ 6 3 2
♠ Q 9 8 7 6
6 5 4
K 4 3
♣ 5 4
West
Papa
North
T.T.
East
Karapet
South
R.R.
1♠ Dbl Pass 2♠(!)
Pass 2NT Pass 3♠(!!)
Pass 3NT Pass 4♠(!!!)
Dbl All Pass Pass

If the bidding appears to be somewhat unorthodox, it is because the Rueful Rabbit was a little confused. He had been engaged in yet another effort to remember where he had left his car two days earlier, and a vague recollection of its whereabouts had just flitted through his mind, So, not having been very attentive to the auction, he was under the impression that his partner, Timothy the Toucan, and not Papa had opened the bidding with 1♠. This explained his initial “raise” and subsequent preference for playing in spades rather than notrump.

Papa led the ♠A and switched deceptively to the 8. Winning in his hand with the king, R.R. finessed the ♣Q, cashed the ace, and ruffed a club. Next a diamond was led, and although Papa followed with the five, dummy’s jack was finessed with confidence. After all, when was the last time Papa had led a true card? The A and another club ruff followed. Then came the heart finesse, and after cashing the ace at trick 10, the Rabbit exited with a heart.

Only three cards remained, and Papa, reduced to the K-J-10 of spades was forced to ruff his partner’s winner and lead up to the Rabbit’s Q-9 of trumps for the game-fulfilling trick.

“A classic example of over-optimism by a defender,” remarked the Hog, winking at the kibitzers.

“Why these speculative doubles?” complained Karapet. “You know that I never hold anything.”

Not the least pleasing feature of the hand, from the Hog’s point of view, was that Papa in the hubbub that followed, forgot to claim his 100 honors. The Hog made sure to remind him, but only after the rubber was over.

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