Listen closely and be­lieve them

The Hamilton Spectator - - FUN & GAMES - by Phillip Alder

Mort Sahl, a Cana­dian-born co­me­dian and satirist, said, “A con­ser­va­tive is some­one who be­lieves in re­form. But not now.”

To­day, look only at the West hand and the auc­tion. What should West lead against six hearts?

Some­times, your op­po­nents might be blow­ing smoke screens in the auc­tion, but very rarely. Also, if they do and are suc­cess­ful, they de­serve con­grat­u­la­tions. Al­most ev­ery­one, though, is trust­wor­thy.

No­tice that East, fac­ing a passed part­ner, made a weak jump over­call de­spite hold­ing a four-card ma­jor.

To be hon­est, given the pre­vail­ing vul­ner­a­bil­ity, I think East could have bid three di­a­monds. Then over three hearts, West could have jumped to five di­a­monds. Sock it to ‘em, baby! Five di­a­monds dou­bled would have been down only three, mi­nus 500.

In this auc­tion, South’s five di­a­monds showed a first-round con­trol in that suit (ace or void), in­ter­est in a slam in hearts and, in prin­ci­ple, no first-round con­trol in spades, a suit skipped over.

Given that, West should have led a spade, pre­sum­ably the 10. Agreed, North ought to have had a spade con­trol for his jump to six hearts, but it prob­a­bly wasn’t the ace, be­cause he failed to con­trol-bid five spades. As you can see, this lead should have re­sulted in six hearts down one. Also, yes, if he could have seen all of the cards, West would have led the spade king!

In a du­pli­cate, ev­ery ta­ble ex­cept this one was in four hearts mak­ing seven when the lead was a di­a­mond.

What did West lead against six hearts? The di­a­mond queen, of course!

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