The loser count is one too high

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - GOINGS ON -

Phyl­lis Diller said, “Aim high, and you won’t shoot your foot off.”

In many bridge deals played with a trump suit, de­clarer finds that his loser count is too high. He must find some way to elim­i­nate those he can­not af­ford. Two com­mon ways of do­ing that are ruff­ing a loser in the shorter trump hand, or dis­card­ing a loser on a side-suit win­ner in the other hand. In this deal, though, South must find a dif­fer­ent method. How should he play in four hearts af­ter West leads the spade queen?

South could see one loser in each suit. He had just nine win­ners: two spades, five hearts, one di­a­mond and one club. The only re­al­is­tic chance for a 10th win­ner was to find East with the di­a­mond king. But that would re­quire two dummy en­tries: the first to lead to­ward de­clarer’s di­a­mond queen, the sec­ond to reach the di­a­mond ace af­ter un­block­ing the di­a­mond queen. Where are those two en­tries?

They must both come in the trump suit, so South has to be care­ful with his heart three.

Af­ter tak­ing the first trick, de­clarer leads a mid­dle heart to dummy’s 10 (or queen). Sup­pose that East wins and re­turns a spade. South takes that also, plays an­other mid­dle heart to dummy’s queen (or 10) and leads a di­a­mond to­ward his queen. East goes up with his king and plays a third spade. West wins and ex­its with a club. De­clarer takes that trick, cashes the di­a­mond queen, over­takes his heart three with dummy’s four and dis­cards his club loser on the di­a­mond ace.

It was a lucky con­tract, need­ing the di­a­mond king on­side and hearts 2-2.

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