ACES ON BRIDGE
Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
The trials for the World Championships in Rhodes ultimately ended unhappily from my perspective, when we lost in the semifinals. But here is a hand from the quarterfinals, showing my partner, Bob Hamman, in fine form; if you want to emulate his performance, you might consider the problem he was faced with, by looking solely at the West hand.
The opponents had maneuvered themselves into three no-trump, and naturally enough, he led a low club, which went to my queen and declarer’s ace. Now declarer, after some thought, played a spade to the ace and a second spade back to the queen and his king. What now?
Hamman found the fine play of the heart queen. As you can see, with the diamond finesse succeeding, it was critical for the defense to take their heart winners at once, or declarer would have had at least nine winners. As it was, once the defense took their heart winners as East, I could exit with a diamond, and that led to two down. Meanwhile, our teammates were recording 620 from four spades in some comfort.
One can sympathize with South’s problem on his second turn to speak — his choice of two no-trump would have worked satisfactorily against most defenders. Personally, though, I would drive to game with the South cards, so would use fourth-suit forcing and bid spades. If I didn’t feel the hand was quite worth that, an invitational jump to three spades would also be reasonable.