Are trumps dividing 2-2 or 3-1?
Kevin Nealon, an actor and comedian best remembered for his time on “Saturday Night Live,” said, “I was born in St. Louis; I lived there for three weeks, and then my father graduated from St. Louis University, so we all got in the car and split.”
This deal was played in St. Louis. In it, declarer had to decide how the trumps were splitting. What did he do in four spades after West led a trump, and East covered dummy’s jack with the queen? What would South have done if West had led the heart king?
In the bidding, West might have jumped to three (or four!) hearts, but his hand looked too strong for a pre-empt. North’s three-club rebid in principle denied three-card spade support, because with that, he could have made a support double. Then, over East’s jump to four hearts, South judged that as his partner was clearly very short in hearts, he rated to have two spades. West was dissuaded by the unfavorable vulnerability from bidding five hearts.
Usually a player will not lead a singleton trump. So, declarer was tempted to play a second round of spades. Here, though, that would have been fatal. Somehow sensing the situation, South immediately played on clubs. East ruffed the third round with his spade 10, but declarer had discarded his diamond losers. When East shifted to a heart, South ruffed in the dummy and lost only one spade and two hearts.
After a heart lead, declarer ruffs in the dummy, cashes the spade king and plays high clubs, discarding three losers. He takes seven trumps, two clubs and the heart ruff.
Look for the Saturday Bridge and Chess and local Bridge results in the new Saturday Fun & Games section