Try not to slip up early in the play
Jean-Paul Sartre said, “Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.” I suppose that’s right. It is too late for a nap, too early for a glass of wine -- ah, it is not too late to buy or sell shares in the stock market, unless you are in the Mountain or Pacific time zone. At the bridge table, though, trick one, two or three can be too late to save your contract. In this deal, how should South play in three spades after West leads a low heart? When faced with a 12-point opening, check your rebids. Here, South can pass one no-trump (or rebid two clubs, if using one-notrump forcing), raise two clubs or two diamonds, and rebid two notrump over two hearts (keeping his fingers crossed!). However, after North made a game-invitational limit raise, South had an easy pass. When the dummy comes down, declarer should see five possible losers: one spade, one heart, one diamond and two clubs. How might that number be reduced by one? An obvious possibility is a winning heart finesse, which tempted the original declarer. However, East won dummy’s queen with his king and shifted to the diamond queen. Now the contract had to fail.
South could have won the race by taking trick one with the heart ace and leading the club queen. Suppose West wins that trick and leads his heart jack to the queen and king, then East shifts to the diamond queen. South wins and plays another club. When he takes the second diamond, he discards dummy’s last diamond on his high club and drives out the spade ace. Take early care of losers.