Two al­ter­na­tives that don’t work

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - BY PHILLIP ALDER

Henry Kissinger said, “The ab­sence of al­ter­na­tives clears the mind mar­velously.”

Yes, but this deal has two in­ter­est­ing al­ter­na­tives with which to oc­cupy the mind.

When I de­scribed the play in four spades yes­ter­day, South took the first trick with dummy’s heart ace, cashed his spade, di­a­mond and club win­ners, then end­played West by lead­ing his heart jack. Fine, but what might have hap­pened if de­clarer, in­stead of giv­ing West the lead in hearts at trick seven, had ex­ited with a trump? Also, what could have tran­spired if South had not won the first trick?

North might have cue-bid four hearts over three spades to show a strong raise to four spades (and prom­ise noth­ing about hearts).

If South throws West in with his trump or ducks the first trick, the con­tract can be de­feated.

In the first case, af­ter win­ning with his spade queen, West must re­sist the temp­ta­tion to cash the heart queen. In­stead, he must lead a low heart to de­clarer’s jack. Then South will have to lose one di­a­mond and two clubs to East, along with the spade al­ready con­ceded.

That de­fense should not be too hard to find, but the other one re­ally takes some imag­i­na­tion. Af­ter the heart king and a heart to the ace, when de­clarer cashes his two top trumps, West must throw the 10 and queen un­der them! Then he can­not be end­played, and the con­tract will go down one. Af­ter the deal, prob­a­bly South would con­grat­u­late West on his great play, then say that if only West had had the spade four and dummy the spade three, the con­tract would still have made.

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