The ex­cep­tions con­tinue to roll

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

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.

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