Thursday, September 3, 2009

Trivia question

I read this deal in a book novel. The exact spade-diamond shape in the North hand is not certain:

x x x
Q x x
x x x
K J 7 x
A K x x x
A K Q x x
A x

Here's how the play went:
K led to the first trick, then K, A (everyone following), heart to the Q, diamond to the Q, running diamonds, North pitched ♣7 at his first opportunity, then (after all the diamonds), ♣A, club to the ♣J (winning), ♣K at which point South pitched a spade and claimed the last 2.

What book novel is this from? A hint is below the fold.

The book's protagonist, North, shares initials with a well-known fictional bridge player.

UPDATE: There is an additional hint in the comments.


  1. I read your blog everyday, but seldom have a worthy comment.

    Your trivia question is too tough for me, but I'll be interested in finding out the answer.

  2. If the HK was really led to trick 1, then NS were defending (and took all 13,) which makes this seem like a Victor Mollo story. I can't think of anyone with initials HH or RR besides the originals, though...

    You were careful not to state the contract. Did East psych in hearts and steal NS's slam?

  3. Jonathan has noticed some important clues, but drawn the wrong conclusions.

    The HK was led. NS scored a slam.

  4. Observations, but not close to an answer:

    1) Declarer led out of turn, which the Rueful Rabbit did from time to time

    2) I can't come up with a decent guess or even a silly guess of why the c7 pitch was relevant

    3) If the claim was valid then hearts were trumps

  5. My thoughts were along the same lines as Jon's. HH, RR, WW, TT, SB were the Mollo characters, but I can't put any of those to a bridge name. The only other thing I could take from the play was that hearts (trumps) broke 3-2, which makes a psych more unlikely, but I guess FMB is telling us that NS did in fact declare?

  6. Actually no, FMB's noting that N's S-D distribution being unclear points to defense. No lead out of turn by declarer. I guess they scored a slam by doubling their opponents.

  7. I apologize, the post was a little unclear (now corrected, I hope): this deal was from a novel, not a bridge book. The uncertainty about North's pointed card shape is because North was described to lead the diamond at trick 5 and to pitch the C7 (from 4 to the AJ)on the run of the diamonds, but whether that was the 3rd, 4th or 5th diamond was not specified.

    There was no lead out of turn. Hearts were indeed trumps. The C7 pitch was specifically mentioned in the book. If I didn't answer your question, it might be deliberate.

    I would add that the book's opinion was that the hand was played well, and I don't have cause to disagree.

    North is the main character in the novel in question. His initials are indeed the same as a Mollo character's.

  8. Sounds to me like this isn't a bridge deal, but rather a Whist deal. There would be no dummy in Whist (thus the uncertainty regarding North's exact shape and the note that "north pitched a club" rather than south pitched a club from dummy or some such). I think in the classic form of Whist the last dealt card is turned face-up (before going into dealer's hand) to determine trumps and then the player to the left of the dealer leads to the first trick. So, this would clear up the lead out of turn issue.

    Anyway, this sounds like a Whist deal, not a bridge deal. My first thought on reading the question was that the protagonist was Sherlock Holmes. Did Mollo have a chartacter with the initials SH?