Booby trap is very hard to see

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - BY PHILLIP ALDER

Erik Wei­hen­mayer, the only blind per­son to reach the sum­mit of Mount Ever­est, said, “Peo­ple get trapped into think­ing about just one way of do­ing things.”

This deal con­tains a nasty trap that would catch al­most ev­ery­one. You have the ben­e­fit of see­ing all 52 cards. How can South make four spades af­ter West leads the club ace?

North’s three-club re­bid was a dou­ble neg­a­tive, in­di­cat­ing some 0-4 points. South’s three hearts was forc­ing, but North’s three spades was not.

At the ta­ble, we would ruff the club ace and cash the spade ace, then re­coil in hor­ror at the 4-0 split. We would no doubt con­tinue with the heart ace, heart king and heart four. Here, though, West would ruff with the spade nine and shift to the di­a­mond two. East would win with his king and give part­ner a sec­ond heart ruff. Then the di­a­mond queen or a di­a­mond to the ace would set the con­tract.

If South an­tic­i­pates the bad breaks, he will dis­card a di­a­mond at trick one; and if West leads an­other club, de­clarer should ditch his sec­ond di­a­mond. Then, when West ruffs the third heart, which costs his nat­u­ral trump trick, he can­not reach his part­ner for the sec­ond ruff.

Per­haps you no­ticed that ruff­ing at trick one was not fa­tal. Af­ter cash­ing the ma­jor­suit aces, South must exit with a di­a­mond to start cut­ting the de­fend­ers’ com­mu­ni­ca­tion. East can win and play a heart, but South will win and lead an­other di­a­mond. East takes that trick and gives West a heart ruff, but, again, that costs his trump trick.

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