It is so easy to trip up and fail

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - BY PHILLIP ALDER

One of our more pop­u­lar quotes-per­sons, A.N. Other, said, “No­body trips over moun­tains. It is the small peb­ble that causes you to stum­ble. Pass all the peb­bles in your path, and you will find you have crossed the moun­tain.”

At the bridge ta­ble, you can oc­ca­sion­ally trip up by not watch­ing the spot-cards closely, but more of­ten it is an honor-card that will be your down­fall — as it was for the orig­i­nal South in this deal. What should he have done in three no-trump af­ter West led his fourth-high­est heart, East put up the jack, and South won with his king? What do you think of the auc­tion?

I like the bid­ding ... un­less you and your part­ner use mi­nor-suit trans­fers (which are rec­om­mended only for reg­u­lar part­ner­ships). If cu­ri­ous, go to philli­palder­bridge.com/TRANS­FER.HTM.

De­clarer started with seven top tricks: three spades, one heart (the first trick), two di­a­monds and one club. Ob­vi­ously the di­a­monds will pro­vide the nec­es­sary ex­tra win­ners, but some care is re­quired.

South cashed his diamond king at trick two and fell flat on his face. Even if he had led a low diamond from hand, he would still have tripped, given the 4-0 split.

Since trick one had marked West with the heart ace, de­clarer should have led a spade to dummy’s jack and run the diamond jack. Here, the fi­nesse would have won and South would have taken 11 tricks. But even if West could have won with the diamond queen, South’s heart queen would have been a stop­per, and the con­tract would have been safe.

Do not avoid a per­fect avoid­ance play.

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