Do you sac­ri­fice or go on de­fense?

The Hamilton Spectator - - FUN & GAMES - by Phillip Alder

Rita Mae Brown wrote, “For you to be suc­cess­ful, sac­ri­fices must be made. It’s bet­ter that they are made by oth­ers, but fail­ing that, you’ll have to make them your­self.”

One of the tough­est bridge top­ics is judg­ing when to sac­ri­fice. East-West would have ben­e­fited in this deal, but it was not ob­vi­ous.

When South bal­anced with a take­out dou­ble af­ter West’s one-spade over­call, he was al­low­ing for his part­ner’s hav­ing long and strong spades, which was the po­si­tion here. Then East, re­al­iz­ing that one spade dou­bled would prob­a­bly be ex­pen­sive (it could be mi­nus 500), ran to one no-trump, an ex­am­ple of the un­usual no-trump, show­ing length in both mi­nors. Maybe West should have jumped to three di­a­monds to in­di­cate a suit­able hand for di­a­monds. Then, if South got to four hearts, East prob­a­bly would have sac­ri­ficed in five di­a­monds, which would have been down only two.

In the ac­tual auc­tion, North made a good raise to three hearts, and game was reached.

West led a trump. South should have drawn trumps im­me­di­ately. Here, he would then have lost one di­a­mond and two clubs, at some time play­ing a spade to dummy’s queen. But if West had started with four hearts, de­clarer would have known he needed to guess East’s sin­gle­ton spade. If it were a low one, South needed to run the spade nine. But if East had the jack, de­clarer had to play a spade to the queen, then re­turn a low spade to his eight, so that he could es­tab­lish dummy’s spade suit.

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