The Tale of the Ten of Hearts
By Ray Adams
Intermediate Place was jumping just the other night. The Ten of Hearts was buying drinks for all the other tens, as well as the nines and eights. The celebration came about as a result of the following hand:
The Ten of Hearts outlined the above hand and bidding on a cocktail napkin before beginning his tale.
“North was quite aggressive in the bidding, I think,” the red ten said. “but he did have all the controls, so that may have explained it. I believe 5♠ was systemic,” the Ten of Hearts loved using this word which he had picked up eavesdropping on conversations at the Royal Honors Club where he sometimes worked as a busboy, “and asked Ms. South, my mistress, to bid a small slam if she thought her trumps were good enough.” The ten cleared his throat.
“Now as you can see, getting twelve tricks on this hand isn’t easy. Mr. West had a tough lead. If he had known his partner, Ms. East, had the queen of diamonds, his choice would have been easy. As it was, he tossed the king of clubs on the table.” The Ten of Hearts paused to build up the suspense.
“Ms. South thought and thought,” he said. “The only way she could get twelve tricks would be to ruff two clubs in the dummy. But then, what if trumps were 4-1? What would she do then? And as you can see, they actually were 4-1. She needed two entries to her hand. But where were they?”
The other intermediates looked at each other with question marks in their eyes.
“But I saw the solution!” the Ten of Hearts shouted.
A big cheer went up on the part of the gathered tens, nines and eights.
“I made myself sparkle and drew her attention. I knew she got it when her eyes lighted up with comprehension and she gave me a little caress with her delicate fingers.” The Ten of Hearts blushed a red brighter than that of the hearts painted on his little pasteboard body. The Eights of Clubs and Diamonds snickered lightly.
“So, she ducked the king of clubs and West, not arguing with success, continued with the seven to dummy’s ace. Now Ms. South made the key play of the hand, coming off dummy in hearts and inserting ME when East played low. I held the trick and Ms. South was halfway home. She ruffed a club, came to her queen of hearts, ruffed another club, played the ace of trumps and drew the last three trumps with the king, queen, and jack. A diamond to the ace allowed her to cash the top hearts and she had twelve tricks and a small slam lined up in front of her. And all because of me!”
The other intermediates cheered wildly and the celebration continued into the wee hours of the morning.
Things were not as bright over at the Royal Honors Club that evening. The Jack of Hearts was in a very morose mood, drinking gin and tonic after gin and tonic.
“Do any of you really understand how humiliating it is to be bested by a ten?” he asked, slurring his words.
But no one was listening to him. They were all gathered around the Ace, King, Queen, and Jack of Spades, who were bragging about their role in a grand slam earlier that evening.