How can part­ner help you to win?

Cecil Whig - - COMICS & PUZZLES - By Phillip Alder

Jack Benny said, “Give me golf clubs, fresh air and a beau­ti­ful part­ner, and you can keep the clubs and the fresh air.” Give me play­ing cards, a bridge ta­ble and an ex­pert part­ner, and you can keep the golf course! A good bridge player will won­der how to make part­ner’s life easy by de­scrib­ing his hand ac­cu­rately in the bid­ding, or sig­nal­ing clearly on de­fense. At other times, though, he must ask him­self what cards part­ner needs to hold in or­der to de­feat the con­tract. This deal is a good ex­am­ple. Af­ter a lengthy auc­tion, South is in four hearts. West leads the di­a­mond ace and cashes the di­a­mond king, East play­ing up the line to show that he started with a triple­ton (be­cause with a dou­ble­ton, he would have played high-low). What should West do next? In the auc­tion, North might have made a neg­a­tive dou­ble on the first round to show spades. How­ever, with such a strong hand, it is prefer­able to bid his suits in length or­der: first clubs, then spades.

West should count up the high­card points. He has 12, and dummy has 16. That leaves only 12, yet South opened the bid­ding. East’s job is to avoid reneg­ing. To beat the con­tract, the de­fend­ers, with no more side-suit win­ners avail­able, need two trump tricks. Which card must West hope that his part­ner holds? West should lead a third di­a­mond, take the first round of trumps, and play a fourth di­a­mond, hop­ing his part­ner can ruff with the heart nine. This ef­fects an up­per­cut, gain­ing a trick for West’s heart 10. Keep count­ing those points.

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