If partner errs, stay tactfully quiet
Howard Newton, an advertising executive who died in 1951, said, “Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.”
One bridge skill is using the high-card points to place the enemy’s key cards. This week, we are watching the defenders do that to defeat contracts.
In this deal, South is in three no-trump. What should West lead? What should happen after that?
North was close to opening two no-trump because of his fivecard suit and good intermediates (three 10s and one 9). But almost half of his points were in quacks. However, when South responded one no-trump to show 6-9 points and no four-card major, North happily raised to three no-trump.
West should lead the heart nine: top of nothing. (To lead fourth-highest would promise at least one honor in the suit.) Then, what is declarer’s best play?
He should win with dummy’s queen and play on diamonds. If the defender with the ace ducks a couple of rounds, South can run for home with three hearts, two diamonds and four clubs.
However, East should realize that West’s lead marks South with the heart ace and king: seven points. So, he cannot have the spade ace; otherwise, he would have been too strong for his oneno-trump response. East should take the first diamond trick and shift to the spade two, low from length saying that he has honors in this suit and wants to win tricks in it. West should win with his spade ace and return the spade five (high from a remaining doubleton). The defenders take one diamond and four spades for down one.
None of that “return partner’s suit” rubbish!