Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786

Recalling Mr. Grumpy

The late Sidney Lenz used to tell the story of the time, many years ago, when he played against a man he called Mr. Grumpy, who fancied himself a very good bridge player. It was back in the days of auction bridge, and because the bidding at that time was altogether different in purpose from what it is today, it is not given. Suffice it to say that the final contract was four spades played by Lenz (South) and doubled by Mr. Grumpy (East).

A diamond was led, East cashing two diamond tricks and shifting to the queen of clubs. Lenz won with the ace and cashed the A-K of spades, Mr. Grumpy following with the nine and jack.

Having failed to find the trumps divided 2-2, Lenz was now in trouble. He had no entry to dummy to utilize the J-10 of clubs, and as East was marked by his double with the king of hearts, two heart losers seemed inevitable.

So Lenz led the king of clubs, hoping Mr. Grumpy would make a mistake, and that worthy gentleman obliged by ruffing with his seven of spades, establishing dummy’s six as an entry to the clubs.

As he ruffed, Mr. Grumpy remarked that his clever falsecard of the 9-J of spades had apparently caused Lenz to miscount the trumps. He further twitted Lenz for having failed to make an overtrick in the doubled contract.

However, when Lenz pointed out that the contract would surely have failed if East had not ruffed the king of clubs, a sadly chastened and deflated Mr. Grumpy was compelled to retire meekly from the field of battle.

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