If you need for­tune, hope for the best

Sherbrooke Record - - CLASSIFIED - By Phillip Alder

Mar­cus Tul­lius Cicero, a fa­mous Ro­man or­a­tor and states­man who was born in 106 B.C. and as­sas­si­nated in 43 B.C., said, “Noth­ing con­trib­utes to the en­ter­tain­ment of the reader more than the change of times and the vi­cis­si­tudes of for­tune.”

I hope you agree with that! In this deal, South over­bid slightly when he went for the vul­ner­a­ble game bonus in four hearts. But play­ing for a for­tu­nate lie of the cards, he made his con­tract — how?

If you em­ploy two-over-one, North would re­spond one forc­ing no-trump, then jump to three hearts over South’s two-di­a­mond re­bid. Note the ad­van­tage of Stan­dard Amer­i­can in that the auc­tion could end in two hearts.

South saw that he had sev­eral po­ten­tial losers and re­al­ized that he needed trumps to break 3-2. But he still had only nine win­ners: one spade, four hearts, one di­a­mond, two clubs and a spade ruff on the board. He saw two chances for an ex­tra trick: clubs 4-3 or di­a­monds 3-3. Know­ing that the for­mer was much more likely (62.2 per­cent ver­sus 35.5 per­cent), de­clarer set out to es­tab­lish a long club. He ducked the first trick, won West’s spade con­tin­u­a­tion with his ace, played a club to the king, ruffed a club in his hand, drew two rounds of trumps end­ing on the board and dis­carded a di­a­mond on the club ace. When ev­ery­one fol­lowed, South ruffed a club in his hand, ruffed a spade in the dummy and threw an­other di­a­mond on the high club nine to get home.

De­clarer needed hearts 3-2 and clubs 4-3, ap­prox­i­mately a 42 per­cent chance. But he played well.

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