If part­ner errs, stay tact­fully quiet

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - BY PHILLIP ALDER

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!

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