Keep him away from his tricks

Sherbrooke Record - - CLASSIFIED - By Phillip Alder

Milan Kun­dera was a Czech writer who went into ex­ile in France in 1975. He wrote, “With­out the med­i­ta­tive back­ground that is crit­i­cism, works be­come iso­lated ges­tures, ahis­tor­i­cal ac­ci­dents, soon for­got­ten.”

Are bridge deals that es­cape crit­i­cism by a player or writer im­me­di­ately for­got­ten? Usu­ally, but not al­ways. How­ever, in to­day’s deal, the key word is “iso­lated.” What hap­pens in three notrump af­ter West leads his fourth-high­est heart?

North was plan­ning to re­bid three clubs to in­vite game, but when South re­bid two no-trump, guar­an­tee­ing at least two clubs, North went for the ninet­rick game. (A three-club re­bid here by North should be treated as game-forc­ing. Also, if you use two-over-one game­forc­ing, I be­lieve that an im­me­di­ate three-club re­sponse should be game-in­vi­ta­tional.)

Af­ter a heart to East’s ace, de­clarer has four top tricks: one spade, two hearts and one di­a­mond. Ob­vi­ously, he hopes to es­tab­lish and run the clubs; and he will do just that if East is a signed-up mem­ber of the “re­turn part­ner’s lead in no-trump” club. South will win trick two with his heart king, drive out the club ace and take at least nine tricks.

But a thought­ful East will see the threat posed by the clubs. As long as de­clarer has only two clubs, the suit can be iso­lated if dummy’s side en­try can be re­moved.

At trick two, East must shift to the di­a­mond king. Then the con­tract will fail.

This sac­ri­fice of a high honor to kill an op­po­nent’s en­try is called the Mer­ri­mac Coup.

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