Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - BOBBY WOLFF

Con­cen­trate all your thoughts upon the work at hand.The sun’s rays do not burn un­til brought to a fo­cus. — Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell

South at the Dyspep­tics Club was some­what dis­ap­pointed to have roughly two aces less than his usual hand­strength, but he still man­aged to find a way to bid to game. The jump to three spades was in­vi­ta­tional and jus­ti­fied only by the trump spots, and North had plenty in hand for his ac­cep­tance.

When West led his sin­gle­ton club seven, de­clarer put up the king from dummy and dumped his 10 from hand to try to mis­lead East as to who had the sin­gle­ton. How­ever, East could see that a club ruff was the most likely way to beat the hand, so he re­turned the club four, suit pref­er­ence. If West could ruff, East wanted him to lead di­a­monds next, the lower-rank­ing side suit.

West hap­pily ruffed in and trust­ingly led back the di­a­mond five. When East took the ace, his win­ning con­tin­u­a­tion was un­clear.

If West had the di­a­mond king, East needed to return a di­a­mond; if South had the di­a­mond king and

West had started with Q-x-x in trumps, a third club was nec­es­sary to pro­mote the set­ting trick in trumps. With a blind guess, he re­turned a third club. De­clarer guessed to ruff high and draw trumps from the top to make his game. Which de­fender was more to blame?

West should have known that he had no trump honor to pro­mote. He needs to lead the di­a­mond king at trick three, then a sec­ond di­a­mond. If East knows South will fol­low to a third club, he can over­take the king and play on clubs. Other­wise, he will let the di­a­mond king hold.

AN­SWER: You have a good hand, but no clear di­rec­tion to head in and no real guar­an­tee of a club fit. My in­stinct is to dou­ble, sug­gest­ing ex­tras, and per­haps typ­i­cally three di­a­monds. This is in the hope that part­ner will be able to con­vert the dou­ble to penal­ties or re­peat one of the black suits if that is ap­pro­pri­ate. If you would like to con­tact Bobby Wolff, email him at bob­by­wolff@mind­

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