Those points can point the way
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.