A Cow Flew By

Goren Bridge

Bob Jones

Dlr: West ♠ A 8 6
Vul: E-W 10 8 7
♣ A K Q J 9 7 3
♠ K 10 4 2 ♠ J 9 7 3
3 A Q 9 4
A K Q 10 7 3 2 6
♣ 4 ♣ 10 6 5 2
♠ Q 5
K J 6 5 2
J 9 8 5 4
♣ 8
West North East South
1 2♣ Pass Pass
2 3 Pass 3NT
Pass Pass Dbl All Pass

Opening lead: ♣4

“A cow flew by” is a time-worn bridge expression representing the reason why a player made an inexplicable error — an error he would never have made had he not been distracted by a cow flying through the room. Even the greatest players have seen an occasional “cow.”

North had a difficult decision at his second turn. He might have doubled and found his eight-card heart fit, but he chose to cue bid West’s suit, asking for a diamond stopper. South had one, sort of, so he bid 3NT. It is worth noting that there are only two cards in the West hand that can be led to defeat 3NT — the two singletons! It is even more noteworthy that West led one of them!

South won the opening club lead in dummy and quickly ran off all of his club winners. He discarded a spade, three hearts, and two diamonds from his hand. West discarded two spades, his heart, and three diamonds starting with the seven to encourage in that suit. At this point declarer led a low heart toward his hand. East was one of America’s greatest players, with a long record of successful competition against the world’s best. He inexplicably ducked his A and the contract rolled home. A cow flew by!

East and West showed their class with a one-word conversation after this disaster. “Sorry,” said East, and they moved on to the next deal.

We would like to thank Canadian expert John Carruthers for his excellent report on this deal.