Stock market ploy at the bridge table
Several top bridge experts have been successful traders in the stock and options markets. They understand that the market is volatile, but if a small investment eventually gives a large return, a few paltry losses along the way are no big deal. How is that relevant in this deal? South is in four spades. West leads the club jack. East takes dummy’s queen with his ace and shifts to the heart queen. How should the play proceed from there? Although South had only 19 highcard points, his hand was well worth a two-club opening. If his partner had a 3-3-3-4 Yarborough, South was a favorite to make four spades, and his hand had some defensive tricks outside of its long suit. North’s two-no-trump rebid promised some points, typically 4-7, with no long suit to show. With a very bad hand, he would have rebid three clubs as a double negative.
South’s immediate reaction was to win with the heart ace and cash his two top trumps in the hope that the queen would drop. But luckily he paused to consider his other options. Here, if he had played trumps from the top, he would have lost one trick in each suit because he could not have reached the dummy to cash its club winner.
Instead, South made a small investment in safety. After taking the second trick with his heart ace, he led a low spade toward the dummy. West won with his queen, cashed the heart king, and switched to a diamond, but declarer took that trick, played a low spade to dummy’s 10, and discarded his diamond loser on the club king.