Some­times it pays to be cau­tious

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - BY PHILLIP ALDER

Con­fu­cius claimed that the cau­tious sel­dom err. At the bridge ta­ble, it can be an er­ror to be cau­tious or dar­ing. In to­day’s di­a­gram, look at the North hand. It goes (one di­a­mond) - one spade - (dou­ble, neg­a­tive) to you. What would be your bid­ding plan?

Of­ten with 10 high-card points, you would in­vite game. Here, though, the signs are not fa­vor­able. Even if East has only 12 points and West 6, that leaves 12 max­i­mum for part­ner. West has shown four hearts, which makes your hold­ing in that suit more de­fen­sive than of­fen­sive in na­ture. You should set­tle for one no-trump.

At Bridge Base On­line, al­most ev­ery­one and ev­ery­thing (com­puter program) did that, but when South re­bid two spades, four times North jumped to four spades — crazy! At my ta­ble, North sagely passed out two spades.

West led the heart four, East won with the ace, and South care­fully played the six. East re­turned the heart seven, and de­clarer fol­lowed with the eight, leav­ing West un­sure who held the two.

When West shifted to the di­a­mond 10, de­clarer won with dummy’s ace and played a spade to her queen. West had a sec­ond op­por­tu­nity to give East a heart ruff, but he per­sisted with the di­a­mond eight. South ruffed, cashed the spade ace and gave up a trump. A mo­ment later, when in hand with the club ace, de­clarer played a heart to dummy’s 10 and dis­carded a club loser on the heart queen. She took four spades, two hearts, one di­a­mond and one club.

West was wrong. If East had started with three hearts, he would surely have shifted to a trump at trick two, not helped set up a win­ner for South.

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