Those points can point the way

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - BY PHILLIP ALDER

First, I wish all of my Amer­i­can read­ers a happy In­de­pen­dence Day.

Galileo said, “All truths are easy to un­der­stand once they are dis­cov­ered; the point is to dis­cover them.”

That tends to be the case at the bridge ta­ble. If you make a mis­take, af­ter­ward you can usu­ally work out why you should have found the right bid or play.

This week’s col­umns point in one di­rec­tion. Even if I do not spell it out, you will soon see the point. In this deal, for ex­am­ple, how should South plan the play in four spades? West takes the first three tricks with his high di­a­monds, then care­fully shifts to a trump.

There was a good case for South’s re­bid­ding three notrump. If he had, North would have had a close de­ci­sion. His 4-3-3-3 dis­tri­bu­tion would have sug­gested go­ing with no-trump, but the known nine-card fit would have in­di­cated stick­ing with the trump suit. Here, of course, three no-trump is fine be­cause the de­fend­ers can­not take the first five tricks in di­a­monds.

In four spades, South has the same nine win­ners as in notrump: five spades, two hearts and two clubs. To make his con­tract, he needs to work out which op­po­nent holds the club queen. Af­ter draw­ing trumps, de­clarer should play three rounds of hearts, ruff­ing the last in his hand. What has he learned?

South now knows that West started with the heart jack and top three di­a­monds, a to­tal of 10 high-card points. If he had the club queen, he surely would have opened the bid­ding as dealer. East must have the club queen.

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