If de­clarer can, so can de­fend­ers

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - BY PHILLIP ALDER

In the sec­ond sea­son of the Amer­i­can “House of Cards,” Frank Un­der­wood says, “If you don’t like how the ta­ble is set, turn over the ta­ble.” (The orig­i­nal “House of Cards” was a novel writ­ten by Michael Dobbs from Eng­land and pub­lished in 1989.)

Last week, we saw how de­clarer can use the bid­ding and high-card points to turn ap­par­ent guesses into cer­tain­ties. The de­fend­ers some­times have the chance to turn the ta­bles, if you’ll ex­cuse the ex­pres­sion.

In this deal, West is de­fend­ing against three no-trump. He leads the spade queen: two, four, ace. South plays a di­a­mond, and West is back in. What should he do now?

North was right to jump to game. When bid­ding no-trump, add one point for a good five-card suit.

To find the right de­fense, first, West must trust his part­ner. At trick one, East played the low­est miss­ing spade spot­card, which de­nied an honor in spades. (If East had started with king-dou­ble­ton, he would have over­taken the queen with the king.) So, de­clarer is marked with seven points in spades. He also has nine tricks ready to run: two spades, three hearts and four di­a­monds. West’s only chance is to find East with at least ace­jack-ten-fifth or ace-jack-sixth of clubs. West must shift to the club queen.

The de­fend­ers have an ad­van­tage in these point-count deals be­cause they have al­ways heard an auc­tion. Some of last week’s deals were rel­a­tively easy for de­clarer be­cause he knew an op­po­nent was not strong enough to open the bid­ding. With­out that in­for­ma­tion, he would not have been so sure of the win­ning play.

Look for the Satur­day Bridge and Chess and lo­cal Bridge re­sults in the new Satur­day Fun & Games sec­tion

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