Do not rush; take your time

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - GOINGS ON -

Tony Benn, who was a cabi­net min­is­ter in the Bri­tish Labour govern­ment in the 1960s and 70s, said, “It’s the same each time with progress. First they ig­nore you, then they say you’re mad, then dan­ger­ous, then there’s a pause and then you can’t find any­one who dis­agrees with you.”

A well-timed pause at the bridge ta­ble pays div­i­dends when it per­mits you to work out the right play. In to­day’s deal, West played far too quickly. South was in three hearts af­ter East had opened with a weak two-bid in spades. West led the di­a­mond king, and de­clarer dis­carded his club four on dummy’s ace. Then came a club to the king and ace. What should West have done next?

South’s three-heart over­call was de­bat­able with so many spades. If South had passed, so would West, be­cause mis­fits are mis­er­able. Two spades would have gone down at least one. What could South do with all of his spade losers? Not a lot, but he did know that West was void of the suit.

At trick three, West im­me­di­ately re­turned a club, hop­ing his part­ner would ruff it and shift to spades. How­ever, de­clarer trumped in his hand, played a heart to the queen, ruffed an­other club and led the heart king. West won and re­turned his last heart, but de­clarer knew what was hap­pen­ing — he played low! Then when West led the di­a­mond queen, de­clarer threw a spade from his hand. West had to lead a club or a di­a­mond, and South shed his re­main­ing spades on the di­a­mond jack-10 and club queen-nine.

Nicely played, but at trick three West should have shifted to a trump.

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