The straight path to the con­tract

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL SPORTS - By Phillip Alder

One of the least well-known tracks on Pink Floyd’s “Um­magumma” al­bum is “The Nar­row Way.” On many bridge deals, there is a nar­row way to make or break the con­tract. In today’s deal, for ex­am­ple, how should South play in four hearts after West leads the di­a­mond three?

South opened with a mod­ern weak two-bid — al­though, to be hon­est, nowa­days many tour­na­ment trail­blaz­ers would open three hearts, given the fa­vor­able vul­ner­a­bil­ity.

West did not have many points, but had too good a spade suit to pass. (Re­mem­ber, a jump over­call of three spades would have been con­struc­tive, promis­ing some 14-16 points — no weak jumps over an op­pos­ing pre-empt.) North jumped to four hearts, un­sure what to do if East bid four spades — but that never hap­pened. East made a cau­tious and costly pass. Four spades looked al­most cer­tain to be made with the fa­vor­able po­si­tion of both mi­nor suits, but in a 16-ta­ble du­pli­cate, only one player was in four spades. North led the heart king. South over­took with the ace and shifted to his sin­gle­ton di­a­mond. De­clarer took North’s jack with dummy’s ace, then fa­tally ran the spade jack. North won, cashed the club ace and di­a­mond king, then gave partner a ruff for down two. (Yes, it should have been down three.)

In four hearts, South has six po­ten­tial losers: three spades, one di­a­mond and two clubs. First, she guessed di­a­monds per­fectly — and vi­tally — by play­ing dummy’s jack. East won and re­turned the di­a­mond deuce. De­clarer care­fully dis­carded a club, won on the board and con­ceded a spade. Then she drew trumps and ruffed two spade losers to get home.

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