BRIDGE AND CHESS
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Leo Tolstoy wrote, “Error is the force that welds men together; truth is communicated to men only by deeds of truth.”
Error is the force that welds less-experienced bridge players together.
In my classes, if we exclude playing far too quickly from the dummy at trick one, I see two errors more often than any others. They are related to answering partner’s takeout double and playing third hand high. Let’s put them under the spotlight this week.
Look at the South hand in the diagram. West opens one diamond, North makes a takeout double, and East passes — what should South do?
South can pass only when he has long and strong diamonds. So, a simple bid in a suit promises nothing; it has a range of 0-8 points. This South hand contains 9 points, so he must jump to two spades. Yes, this could be a 4-3 fit, but we cannot worry about that at the moment. A good partner will have four-card support.
Here, North, knowing his partner has 9-11 points, jumps to four spades. How should South plan the play after West cashes two top diamonds and exits with a trump?
Declarer has three top losers: one heart and two diamonds. He must find the club queen to make his contract. When faced with a guess like this, leave it as late as possible. First, draw the trumps. Then, play on hearts to learn that East holds the ace. Next, check the points.
South is missing only 16, and West opened the bidding, but East has the heart ace. West must have the club queen, so finesse through him to get home safely.