Find one card to un­cover an­other

The Hamilton Spectator - - FUN & GAMES -

Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell said, “Great dis­cov­er­ies and im­prove­ments in­vari­ably in­volve the co­op­er­a­tion of many minds.”

Maybe “in­vari­ably” is a slight over­bid, but when some­one has a good idea, it will often be honed by oth­ers. That def­i­nitely ap­plies in bridge. Even some­thing as clas­sic as Black­wood has ap­peared in sev­eral ver­sions.

In this deal, though, there is a dif­fer­ent dis­cov­ery that is im­por­tant. South is in four spades. West leads the heart queen, top of touch­ing hon­ors. East takes the sec­ond trick with his heart ace (a harm­less false­card) and exits with a trump. How should de­clarer con­tinue?

Ad­vo­cates of the Los­ing Trick Count would in­sist on game with the North hand. It has only seven losers (one spade, be­cause you deduct one loser for a 10-card or bet­ter fit, two hearts, two di­a­monds and two clubs), which is the game-force num­ber.

South has three top losers (two hearts and one club), so must find the di­a­mond queen to make his con­tract. How­ever, rather than just guess, de­clarer should first go on a voy­age of dis­cov­ery. Af­ter draw­ing trumps, he should find out who holds the club ace. When it proves to be East, West must have the di­a­mond queen. Why?

East has al­ready turned up with 11 points (heart ace-king and club ace), but did not open the bid­ding as dealer. He can­not also have a queen.

If you want to be one of the top play­ers in your cir­cle, count high-card points on all deals. You will be amazed how often “guesses” be­come cer­tain­ties.

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