Bridge Challenge #11 (S516c)
From Part III - "Problem Hands", page 196
From the book Winning Declarer Play
South dealer. Both Vulnerable
SOUTH WEST NORTH
Opening lead: Spade queen
West leads the spade queen, and the king wins the first trick. Which card should you lead from dummy at trick two, and why?
Answer: You have nine tricks, provided
the diamond king is on side. Since dummy has no more entries, the
time to finesse is now, and the right card to lead is the diamond nine.
This allows you to remain in the dummy for two subsequent finesses should
they prove necessary. Suppose the complete hand is this:
Notice that it would be a mistake to start with the diamond jack. This would hold the trick, and you'd next lead another diamond to the ten, which would also win. But now there'd be no way to get back to dummy for a third finesse, and the contract would fail. It would do no good to drop the ten under the jack on the first round. In this case, when you continue with the nine, East will cover with the king, promoting his eight spot.
Look how easy life is if you start with the nine. This wins, and you continue with the jack. When East plays small, you can get under the jack with the ten, leaving yourself in dummy for that vital third finesse.
Some readers probably got the answer to the problem from the title, even if they failed to recognize the combination. Among card players, the nine of diamonds has long been known as the "curse of Scotland, although the origin of the term is uncertain.
There's a legend that the Duke of
Cumberland, son of George II, wrote the order for the massacre at the battle
of Culloden (1746) on the back of a nine of diamonds. This victory
by "Butcher Cumberland," as he subsequently became known, destroyed the
Scottish insurrection led by the young pretender, Charles Edward Stuart
(Bonnie Prince Charlie) and put an end to attempts of the Stuart family
to regain the throne of England. A monumental cairn and several green
mounds can be seen today on the heath of Culloden where over a thousand
of the slain lie buried. And the nine of diamonds has been known
ever since as the "curse of Scotland."
This is one example from Dorthy
Truscott's book "Winning Declarer Play."