Hand of the Week
This qualifying deal from the 1999 Forbo Invitational tournament in the Netherlands generated a useful history lesson. Cardinal Morton was one of King Henry VII’s revenue collectors who would often visit the wealthy. If they made him lavishly at home, he would infer that they had plenty of money and could thus contribute to the king. Thrifty hospitality would imply that they had saved up their funds – and would thus also be able to make a generous donation. What has this to do with bridge? Well, consider the following deal, an illustration of a play known as the Morton’s Fork Coup.
Both tables reached 4♥, and in one room the Dutch declarer as North pitched a club from dummy on the diamond lead, after which the contract could no longer be made. The loss of a spade, a club and two trumps was unavoidable.
At the other table, Wilhelm Gosschalk was South showed the right way to play the contract. West kicked off with two top hearts. A third round of trumps was taken by dummy’s ♥J.
By this point, Gosschalk had reasoned correctly that it was much more likely that East rather than West had the ♣A. He therefore played a low club away from the queen.
East was caught in a genuine Morton’s Fork Coup. If he rose with the ♣A, the spade loser in dummy would later disappear on the ♣K. In fact, East ducked, but then Gosschalk won the ♣K and discarded his two losing clubs on dummy’s high diamonds. Declarer lost only two trumps and a spade to make his contract.
The full deal: