Which suit is the bet­ter choice?

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING -

BY PHILLIP ALDER

Vin­cent van Gogh said, “I am not an ad­ven­turer by choice but by fate.”

It seems as though fate de­cides some bridge deals. In to­day’s, for ex­am­ple, how should South play in six notrump af­ter West leads the club 10?

In the auc­tion, North-South were us­ing two-over-one game­forc­ing. South could have re­bid three di­a­monds, but did not like to con­sume so much bid­ding space. Also, his spade suit looked six-long. Over three clubs, South was tempted to bid a quan­ti­ta­tive four no-trump but was afraid part­ner would treat it as Ro­man Key Card Black­wood. (It should be nat­u­ral. To ask about key cards, South raises to four clubs first, set­ting the trump suit.) How­ever, when North in­vited a slam, South hap­pily ac­cepted.

South starts with 11 top tricks: five spades, two hearts and four clubs. The ex­tra win­ner has to come from one of the red suits, but which one, and how?

Ideally, de­clarer would like to cash dummy’s top hearts to see if the queen drops, then to try to guess di­a­monds. But that risks go­ing down when the de­fend­ers can win with the di­a­mond ace and cash the heart queen. Al­ter­na­tively, South could run the heart 10 or try to guess di­a­monds. What would you do?

I would be in­clined to lead the di­a­mond jack from the dummy be­cause East might cover with the queen or think about it. If he plays low smoothly, I will put up the king.

At the ta­ble, West had queen-dou­ble­ton of hearts and ace-dou­ble­ton of di­a­monds, but fate­fully led not the club 10 but the heart queen!

Look for the Satur­day Bridge and Chess and lo­cal Bridge re­sults in the new Satur­day Fun & Games sec­tion

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