By Ray Adams
Alice was partnered with the Dormouse against the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Spades
when she picked up the following hand:
Dealer: South (Alice) Vulnerable: NS
“One club,” Alice said firmly.
“One spade,” the Mad One, sitting West, said.
“Two spades,” the Dormouse intoned as he woke from a short nap.
“Off with her head! Pass!” the good queen screamed.
“Two no trump,” Alice said, showing no fear of entering the strange world of no trump land.
“Pass,” said the brain-damaged Hatter. “I’ve heard enough.”
“Three no trump,” said the Dormouse. “We may have more, but I need to take a nap.” Everyone else passed and the Hatter led the seven of hearts.
“That’s very curious,” said Alice. “He bids spades and leads hearts.” She took a good look at the following dummy:
Alice saw immediately that she had eight top tricks and a possible ninth if clubs split 3-3. But to assure her contract, and to try for a valuable overtrick – for after all this was duplicate not one of those dreary team games – all she needed to do was establish one or two diamond tricks. “That should be easy,” Alice said to herself. “All I have to do is find the Hatter with the ace, queen, or ten.”
Alice won the queen’s queen of hearts at trick one, then put her highly intellectual thoughts into action at trick two, by playing a small diamond to the three, two, and the queen’s queen.
“The queen of diamonds wins a trick. The silly girl looks quite sick,” the queen chanted annoyingly as she gathered in the trick.
“Then the Hatter must needs have the ten,” said Alice to herself. “I’ll make an overtrick yet.”
The queen returned a heart, Alice winning the jack in hand as the Hatter pitched a spade.
“Curiouser and curiouser,” said Alice. “The mad one led a singleton. But he must have the ten of diamonds.”
Alice played the seven of diamonds to the four and six, but the queen won the ten. “The ten rates as good as a queen when the knave is hiding out,” the queen said as she put a heart on the table. Dummy’s ace won this trick.
“This is getting curiouser and curiouser,” Alice said. “Is nothing as it seems?”
She thought that the Hatter surely had the ace of diamonds for his overcall. After all, he had shown nothing else, and only the queen and jack of spades, and the jack of clubs were left outstanding.
Alice put her thinking into action by playing a diamond towards her jack. But the queen rose with her ace, then cashed three heart tricks for down two.
“Off with her head, off with her silly head. I am the Queen of Hearts. I like the cards so red. Off with her silly head,” the good queen said, severely annoying Alice.
Alice then saw that the clubs had indeed split 3-3. It was the only honest suit in the deck. So she would have had nine tricks off the top.
“Things are very curious in No Trump Land,” Alice said. “I believe it’s your deal, Mr. Hatter.”
“Sorry, Alice, but I have to go to the Medical Center and get treatment for my mercury poisoning.”
The Dormouse was still asleep, while the Queen of Hearts was hiding from the King of Hearts who had gotten quite amorous after watching the queen made a fool out of Alice. Thus, it was weeks before Alice got to visit No Trump Land again.