With two fits, get ex­tra tricks

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - GOINGS ON -

St. Jerome wrote, “Good, bet­ter, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is bet­ter and your bet­ter is best.”

How does that ap­ply to this deal? What is South’s good line of play in four spades af­ter West leads an ob­vi­ous sin­gle­ton club? What is the bet­ter de­fense by East-West?

Note South’s jump to four spades. When North made his take­out dou­ble, he was go­ing to as­sume that South had six or seven points. South, with a trick more than that, was right to jump to game. When an op­po­nent opens with a three-level pre-empt, then leads a dif­fer­ent suit, that card is a sin­gle­ton. (Also, Andy Rob­son, an English ex­pert, ad­vises that if the pre­emp­tor leads his own suit, as­sume he has a sin­gle­ton in your trump suit.)

If South had led a trump at trick two, East could have taken the trick and given his part­ner a club ruff. Then West could have ex­ited with a di­a­mond and waited for two heart win­ners.

How­ever, South saw a chance if he could de­nude West of di­a­monds. So, de­clarer cashed his di­a­mond king, played a di­a­mond to the ace and ruffed the di­a­mond jack. Then he led a trump to East’s ace. If East had given his part­ner the ruff, West would have been end­played, forced to open up the hearts and give South a trick with his king. In­stead, East shifted to his heart queen. (Yes, the nine would have been prefer­able.) South cov­ered with his king, and West took the trick. Now, in des­per­a­tion, West con­tin­ued with a low heart. Bingo — East won with his nine and de­liv­ered the lethal ruff. Bril­liant!

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