I have always been drawn to a bit of a rogue and I must admit I found the coughing German Doctors, banned by the WBF for cheating, highly amusing. At the 2008 inaugural World Mind Sports in Beijing, they played England in the semi-final, and in the last set went for five huge penalties almost consecutively. Wladow called for the Director mid-set and told him they wished to resign. When the Director told him this was unheard of in a World Championship he said: ‘I am a doctor and I can tell from my partner’s bidding that he is not well!’
Today’s hand came up at Young Chelsea’s Friday IMP game — and many declarers needed a doctor:
The pairs in 3NT had no trouble, but there was a string of results showing 4♥ down one. What happened?
At my table I led the ♣Q, Declarer won the Ace, played a Heart to his ten and my Queen, and I returned a trump. He won the Jack in dummy, noting the 4-1 split, and finessed the Jack of Spades which I took and played another Club to South. He pulled trumps and went to dummy to take another Spade finesse — which lost. When Spades failed to split, South had no way of making ten tricks. One down.
Ok, try imagining the hand without the J,10 of Spades. Barring any really freakish distributions, Declarer has got 4 trump tricks, 5 side-suit winners, and the tenth trick can be guaranteed by ruffing a Spade in dummy. The right line is therefore to win the lead, cash your winners in Clubs and Diamonds, and play Ace and another Spade; the defence cannot stop you ruffing a Spade with the Jack of Hearts and bingo! Ten tricks.