When it gets tough, the tough get lucky

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - BY PHILLIP ALDER

Wil­son Mizner, a play­wright, racon­teur and en­trepreneur who died in 1933, said, “Life’s a tough propo­si­tion, and the first hun­dred years are the hard­est.”

Bridge’s a tough propo­si­tion, and the first 12 tricks are the hard­est!

Some deals are es­pe­cially tough — like this one. South was in six hearts. West led the club king. De­clarer took that with dummy’s ace and cashed the heart king. When West dis­carded a club, the go­ing had got­ten a lot tougher. How should South have con­tin­ued?

The auc­tion could eas­ily have led to seven spades or seven hearts, both of which would have been un­luck­ily de­feated by the bad heart break. South chose the 4-4 fit be­cause that would usu­ally have been bet­ter than a 5-3 fit. Here, though, six spades would have been easy to make if de­clarer did not rely on a 3-2 heart split. De­clarer could have taken five spades, three hearts, two di­a­monds, one club and a di­a­mond ruff in the dummy.

South in six hearts, rather than throw­ing in the towel, looked for a win­ning dis­tri­bu­tion. He worked out that he needed to find East with 3=5=3=2 dis­tri­bu­tion. De­clarer took three spade tricks end­ing with the king, ruffed a club, cashed his top di­a­monds and ruffed his last di­a­mond on the board. With nine tricks in, South led a club. East had to ruff high, but de­clarer dis­carded a spade. South won the next trick with his heart nine and had a high-trump cross­ruff for the last two tricks.

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