Did the Hog Commit a Boo-Boo?

Did the Hog Commit a Boo-Boo? Perish the Hideous Thought!

Whenever Papa and Karapet face the Hog and the Rabbit, the unpredictable always happens, so when fate brought them together again, a bevy of Griffins quickly gathered around the table. I found a seat between the Greek and R.R.
On the first hand the Hog bid 3NT, a fair contract against any lead except a spade, a heart or a club. Papa opened a diamond and the Hog made game on a finesse. Then this deal came up:

Dlr: West ♠ J 10 2
Vul: N-S 5 4 3 2
A 6
♣ A K Q 2
♠ A
K 10 9 8 7 6
K 2
♣ J 9 8 6
4 Pass Pass 4♠
Pass 4NT Pass 6♠
All Pass

The Rabbit’s 4NT wasn’t Blackwood or anything else in particular. It was a purring noise, signifying pleasure and the Hog evidently took it as such.
Papa led the 10. Karapet played the jack and the Hideous Hog won with the ace. Next came a trump and Papa was in again. I could almost hear his brain ticking as he analyzed the situation.
The Hog must surely have seven spades to have bid the slam. With no more than six, missing the ace, jack, 10, even he would have settled for the game.
The play to the first trick marked him with a bare A. That came to seven tricks and dummy had four more. If the Hog had the Q, he couldn’t fail to make his contract for Papa would be the victim of an inevitable Vienna Coup. After taking the A, H.H. would reel off his trumps, and in a four-card ending Papa couldn’t retain the K and four clubs, he would mistakenly discard the diamonds.
To make things easy for his partner, Papa led the K, notring with relief the 10 on dummy’s ace. Now Papa could keep four clubs, leaving Karapet to hold on to the two red queens. The Hog played out his trumps at top speed, throwing hearts from the dummy on the fourth and fifth rounds.
Papa’s features, tense before the second heart discard, relaxed in a smile.
“In your younger days,” he told H.H., “you would have made this contract. It’s too late now, I fear, for you have made a serious mistake.”
“Really,” said the Hog. “Perhaps you will tell me where I went wrong.”
“Certainly,” rejoined Papa, not troubling to conceal his disdain. “Instead of throwing those little hearts from dummy, you should have ruffed one, both if you like. Now Karapet, who can hardly have started with more than two hearts, could no longer guard the suit and I would be inexorably squeezed in hearts and clubs. It’s known as isolating the menace, a misleading expression, because . . . ”
“Would you like a bet?” broke in the Hog. He tried to sound humble and meek, but there was a malevolent gleam in his beady eyes. “I’ll say the contract can’t be made your way, but that I’ll make it my way.”
“After one heart ruff the squeeze would be automatic.”
“What will you wager?” pursued the Hog, who wasn’t listening. “Already, owing to an earlier miscalculation, it that’s the right word, you’ll be paying for my fall cruise on Vistafjord to the Mediterranean. How about our wine bills, the loser to pay both?”
The eyes of the kibitzers focused on Papa.
“You say that had you ruffed a heart, I wouldn’t have been squeezed?” The Hog nodded. “And that you’ll make the contract just the same?” The Hog nodded again. “I assume, of course, that you haven’t the Q,” added Papa as an afterthought.
“I haven’t,” H.H. assured him.
“The bet’s on,” declared Papa. Thereupon H.H. spread his hand. This was the deal in full:

♠ J 10 2
5 4 3 2
A 6
♣ A K Q 2
♠ A ♠ 4 3
K 10 9 8 7 6 J
K 2 Q 10 9 8 7 5
♣ J 9 8 6 ♣ 10 7 5 3
♠ K Q 9 8 7 6 5
J 4 3
♣ 4

“You have the Q?” exclaimed Papa incredulously.
“True,” agreed H.H., “but had I won the first trick with the queen, it would have been obvious that Karapet had a singleton, since he couldn’t have the ace. So, when you came in with ♠A you would have to give him a ruff. The only way to stop you was to take the jack with the ace, ‘marking’ Karapet with the queen.
“Naturally,” went on the Hog, winking knowingly at the kibitzers, “as the cards lay, I couldn’t make the contract. I hoped against hope that Karapet would have both the K and the Q. Fortunately, Papa came to the rescue with the brilliant lead of the K instead of keeping the red king himself and leaving Karapet to look after the clubs, he executed a cunning transfer squeeze, forcing Karapet to retain the diamond guard, so that neither of them could deny me dummy’s last club.
“Now watch,” went on the Hog. He led his sixth spade, then his seventh. This was the position:

♠ —
♣ A K Q 2
♠ — ♠ —
♣ J 9 8 6 ♣ 10 7 5 3
♠ 5
J 4
♣ 4

On the last spade Papa had to let go a club so as to retain his K, exposing Karapet to a squeeze in the minors.
“So you thought I had made a mistake?” observed H.H. severly. “Let it be a lesson to you, Themistocles. I may have my faults, but making mistakes isn’t one of them.”

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