A tough com­bi­na­tion to han­dle

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - BY PHILLIP ALDER

De­nis Diderot, an 18th-cen­tury French philoso­pher, art critic and writer, said, “There are three prin­ci­pal means of ac­quir­ing knowl­edge ... ob­ser­va­tion of na­ture, re­flec­tion, and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion. Ob­ser­va­tion col­lects facts; re­flec­tion com­bines them; ex­per­i­men­ta­tion ver­i­fies the re­sult of that com­bi­na­tion.”

To­day, de­clarer is faced with a tough suit com­bi­na­tion to play cor­rectly. How should he try to make three no-trump af­ter West leads the heart queen?

South’s two-heart re­bid was the ar­ti­fi­cial fourth-suit game­forc­ing. When North de­scribed his 5-5 hand, South took a shot at three no-trump, think­ing that it would have more chance than five clubs. North was happy he had the heart king to bol­ster his part­ner’s hold­ing in the suit. (South prob­a­bly didn’t have very strong hearts, be­cause then he might have jumped straight to three no-trump over two clubs.)

De­clarer has seven top tricks: three spades, two hearts and two clubs. If spades are 3-3, that will be good enough. How­ever, that should be left on the back burner while South tries to win four club tricks — but how?

Right, they could be 3-2, but there is one other pos­si­bil­ity: East might hold a sin­gle­ton honor. De­clarer has to be care­ful, though. When he cashes the club ace and East plays the queen, South must un­block his eight or nine.

Then he leads a low club from the board. West takes that trick with his 10, but now dummy has the king-seven over West’s queen-six, and the con­tract is home.

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