Do not match a speedy de­clarer

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

Traf­fic is go­ing at a steady 65 mph on an in­ter­state. You are com­ing up the en­try ramp. What is your ideal speed when you reach the top of the ramp?

Right — 65. So why do many driv­ers try to merge at 50 or 55? It in­creases the risk of an ac­ci­dent.

At the bridge ta­ble, though, if you are play­ing against a speedy op­po­nent, do not try to match him. Take your time; do not be rushed into a mis­take. In this deal, for ex­am­ple, how should East plan the de­fense against three no-trump af­ter West leads the spade nine, and South im­me­di­ately calls for dummy’s sin­gle­ton?

South has a nor­mal-look­ing two-no-trump open­ing, al­though his ace-king count is high. If you take two points for an ace and one for a king, the opener will nor­mally have seven points; this hand has eight, which is the usual num­ber for a two-club open­ing fol­lowed by a two-no-trump re­bid. But it would be quite some up­grade to open two clubs.

Af­ter North’s thin raise to game, East might have risked a dou­ble, which would have said that he had a solid suit and hoped part­ner could find it. Typ­i­cally, though, this would have been a ma­jor suit be­cause the re­spon­der had not used Stay­man or a trans­fer. How­ever, here, West might have led a club on the short­est-suit prin­ci­ple — part­ner’s long­est suit will be my short­est.

What is a nine lead? Top of noth­ing. So East should know that South has the spade A-Q-J10. Then, play­ing the king gives de­clarer four spade tricks and nine in all. But if East ig­nores third hand high and calmly plays the spade three, de­clarer can­not find a ninth trick.

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