The obvious lead might not work
Alfred North Whitehead, an English mathematician and philosopher who spent the last 23 years of his life in Cambridge, Mass., said, “It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.” Expert bridge players will look for traps in obvious-looking contracts. In today’s deal, though, it was the obvious opening lead that proved fatal -- one of the hardest “errors” to avoid. What do you think of West’s fourheart opening bid? How did South play in five diamonds after West led his heart ace, then shifted to a low spade?
With a side four-card major, the textbooks tell you not to pre-empt. But these days, experts are more flexible. Also, when you have a 7-4 shape, open with a game-bid. Either you will buy a good dummy and make game, or you won’t and even the three-level will be too high.
South has 11 potential winners: two spades, six diamonds, one club and two heart ruffs in the dummy. After the heart-ace lead and spade shift, declarer wins that trick, cashes the diamond ace to see the 3-0 break, and leads his club to dummy’s queen and East’s ace. Back comes another spade.
South wins in his hand, ruffs a heart with the diamond seven, discards his last spade on the club king, trumps a club, ruffs the heart queen with the diamond eight, draws trumps, and claims. If only West had led a spade initially, he would have defeated the contract -- tough.
Finally, note that five hearts doubled would probably go down only two -- also tough, because it is rarely right to bid five over five.