Alice in Replay Land
By Ray Adams
When Alice found herself in Replay Land, she remembered the many strange bridge adventures she experienced in No Trump Land and Four Spade Land. Replay Land was yet another exotic place, a land where a player could yell “Replay” causing the hand to be played yet again. Alice girded her loins and put on her bidding cap in preparation for another interesting day at the table.
Alice was paired with the Dormouse against the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts, which happened to be her original pairing in No Trump Land. With two good heart stoppers and sixteen points, Alice made the percentage bid of 3NT. The mad one led the three of hearts, Alice playing dummy’s ten, which held the trick. The king of diamonds was led, West taking the ace. The Mad Hatter, who now knew that Alice had the king and queen, continued with a low heart in an attempt to keep communications open between the two defenders.
Alice won her queen and now led a small spade to dummy’s eight, the Queen winning her ten. The Queen now did the logical thing, returning a small heart. The Mad Hatter cashed both his hearts, muttering as he did so how he was glad to be beating mercury poisoning, and booking the contract. The Queen and Alice both let go small clubs, and a diamond was thrown from dummy. This was now the situation:
The Hatter exited with the nine of diamonds to dummy’s queen. The good Queen was comfortably able to toss a small spade on this play, as Alice let go a club, but when Alice cashed the jack of diamonds, the Queen of Hearts was squeezed. A club pitch would allow Alice to throw a spade (the other black suit), take the club finesse and claim. A spade discard and Alice could toss a club (once again, the other black suit), take the club finesse and make the six of spades as the ninth trick.
The Queen of Hearts immediately yelled “REPLAY!” as soon as Alice claimed. The Ten of Spades soon appeared and ruled the hand must be replayed.
The play started the same way. The Hatter led the three of hearts and Alice making the same plays as she had earlier. However, when the Queen of Hearts won the ten of spades, she now returned a club, rather than a heart. Alice took the finesse successfully, playing the jack, which held. This was now the situation:
Alice could no longer play on the black suits, for if the Queen got in, she would lead a heart and the Hatter would cash two hearts for down one. Therefore, Alice went to the dummy and cashed the two high diamonds. But the Queen had no problem getting rid of a a spade and a club on these two diamonds. Now the Queen remained with a spade stop and a club stop and communications with her partner in the form of the eight of hearts. Alice now had to go down.
“How do you like that, you silly girl,” the Queen of Hearts said. “Off with her head!”
“I’d like to exercise my Replay Land option,” Alice replied smugly. “REPLAY!”
The Ten of Spades made another appearance, and over the objections of the Queen of Hearts, ruled that Alice could have another shot at the contract.
This time the play went exactly the same as the second time the hand was played. But now, when the Queen of Hearts exited with a club, Alice took the finesse and led the heart herself. The Hatter cashed the two hearts, and in the process, squeezed the Queen.. So Alice made the contract.
“REPLAY!” the Queen of Hearts screamed and play resumed, only this time the Queen only allowed her partner to cash one heart. The good Queen was no longer squeezed, but now Alice could give up a trick to her and still make the game.
“Off with her head, off with her head!” the Queen yelled, calling over the Ten of Spades once again.
“She cannot be allowed to make this game,” the Queen protested. “Why she’s just a commoner. She can’t just push a queen around.”
“I greatly sympathize with you, Your Majesty,” the Ten of Spades allowed, “but I am forced to follow the rules of Replay Land and unless you have reason to call another replay, I have to rule that your honorable opponent made the 3NT game.
“This is an outrage,” the Queen said. “Will no one come forward to protect their queen from such a disgusting result?”
“I will be your hero, good Queen,” the Mad Hatter said, putting on the hat of a musketeer.
“REPLAY!” the Hatter yelled.
“Will there be a change in the play, or do you intend to do the same old things as in the first four plays?” the Ten of Spades asked.
“Why yes,” the Hatter said. “I will lead a spade, the unbid suit.”
The Ten of Spades allowed this replay and lo and behold! Alice had to go down, no matter how she struggled, as the ten of hearts never took a trick.
“I now rule that 3NT is down one. Go on to the next hand,” the Ten of Spades said, happy that his suit had played an important role in resolving this tricky hand.
“But I made the hand 3 times out of 5,” Alice said. “Surely I should be allowed to make the contract or at least get an Average Plus.”
“Off with her head! Don’t listen to this pushy little commoner,” the Queen shouted.
“I have no choice but to rule down one,” the Ten of Spades said. “Here in Replay Land, only the last replay counts.”
Alice shook her head and waited for the next hand to be dealt. Replay Land was certainly a strange place, almost as strange as No Trump Land and Four Spade Land.