One deal be­gat two game con­tracts

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Mickey Hart, who is best known as a drum­mer for Grate­ful Dead, said, “In the be­gin­ning, there was noise. Noise be­gat rhythm, and rhythm be­gat ev­ery­thing else.” To­day’s deal be­gat two in­ter­est­ing game con­tracts, four spades in a nine-card fit and four hearts in an eight-card fit. First, let’s look at four spades. (Tune in to­mor­row for the dis­cus­sion about four hearts.) Af­ter West leads the club queen to South’s ace, what should de­clarer do?

Note North’s re­bid: Two spades was best. He might have gam­bled with one no-trump, treat­ing the sin­gle­ton king as if it were king­dou­ble­ton (not a bad plan), but two spades was still prefer­able. (He couldn’t re­bid two hearts, be­cause that would have been a re­verse and promised at least 17 points. Also, two di­a­monds would have been poor with such an unim­pres­sive five-card suit.) De­clarer has five pos­si­ble losers: two spades (if they break 4-0), one heart and two di­a­monds. If trumps are 2-2, there is no prob­lem, but if they are 3-1, South must guess di­a­monds cor­rectly.

So, de­clarer cashes the top trumps to learn that he has a loser there. Then, be­fore turn­ing to di­a­monds, he should find out who holds the heart ace by play­ing on that suit. Here, West pro­duces the ace and ex­its safely with a heart. Who has the di­a­mond ace? It must be East be­cause West has al­ready pro­duced nine points: the spade queen, heart ace and club queen-jack. If he had the di­a­mond ace as well, he would have opened the bid­ding. Count those points!

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