Two de­fenses, but nei­ther works

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - BY PHILLIP ALDER Look for the Satur­day Bridge and Chess and lo­cal Bridge re­sults in the new Satur­day Fun & Games sec­tion

Am­brose Bierce, author of “The Devil’s Dic­tionary,” claimed: “Calami­ties are of two kinds: mis­for­tunes to our­selves, and good for­tune to oth­ers.”

In this deal, there are two pos­si­ble de­fenses against four spades, but nei­ther will work if de­clarer plays cor­rectly. What are those de­fenses, and how can South sur­vive?

East might have opened one no-trump, adding a point for his good five-card suit. (The Ka­plan-Rubens method eval­u­ates the hand at 16.2 points be­cause it likes strong five­card suits, aces and kings.) Then, maybe South would have over­called three spades, but the lack of a sin­gle­ton would have been a tad wor­ry­ing. If South had passed, North would pre­sum­ably have dou­bled in the fourth po­si­tion, and South would have bid two or three (or four!) spades.

Af­ter East pre­ferred to open one heart, South over­called three spades to show a good seven-card suit and some 5-9 high-card points. North bid game, hop­ing for the best.

West leads the heart queen. East might over­take this, cash the heart ace and con­tinue with the heart 10, hop­ing West can gain a trump pro­mo­tion. But South ruffs high and plays a spade to the jack. De­clarer ruffs the next heart high, draws trumps and claims, dis­card­ing his di­a­mond loser on dummy’s third club.

Al­ter­na­tively, East lets his part­ner take the first two tricks, then West shifts to the di­a­mond jack. South, re­al­iz­ing that the fi­nesse is doomed, wins with dummy’s ace and im­me­di­ately takes the club win­ners to sluff his sec­ond di­a­mond. Then he con­cedes one trump trick.

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