The exceptions continue to roll
Ambrose Bierce, author of “The Devil’s Dictionary,” said, “The covers of this book are too far apart.” Last week, we looked at “cover an honor with an honor” and found that it is usually right not to cover the first of touching honors, but to cover the last ... as long as it might gain a trick. However, as you are well aware, bridge stays healthy because there are exceptions to the rules. This week, so that the columns are not far apart, we will look at when you should break that cover-an-honor rule. The first one features a tough play to find. South is in three no-trump, and West leads the spade queen to declarer’s king. What happens after that?
South starts with six top tricks: two spades, one heart, two diamonds and one club. Clearly, he must try to establish and run dummy’s club suit. He starts by leading his club 10. If West plays his low club (do not cover the first of touching honors), declarer runs the 10. Even if East ducks the trick, South will intentionally lose the second round of clubs, collect four club tricks, and take nine in all. Now, though, let’s return to trick two. When dummy has a good suit like that and no side entry, West should immediately cover with his queen. What does declarer do then? If he wins with dummy’s ace, East ducks the second club, takes the third, and plays a spade. Or, if South plays low from the board, planning to run the club jack on the second round of the suit, the contract will go down, because the defenders will take three spades and two clubs.