A card’s mo­ment in the spot­light

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Fred­die Mer­cury, the late lead singer of the rock band Queen, said, “I de­signed the Queen crest. I sim­ply com­bined all the crea­tures that rep­re­sent our star signs -- and I don’t even be­lieve in astrol­ogy.” Over time, each card will have its day in the spot­light. Which card gets that honor here? Against four spades, West leads the heart ace. What hap­pens af­ter that? Over South’s one-spade open­ing bid, West might have made a take­out dou­ble. It would have risked East’s ad­vanc­ing in clubs with only a four-card suit. Here, though, the dou­ble would have worked fine be­cause East would have bid hearts. Note that four hearts is lay­down for East-West. When West passed, North cor­rectly up­graded his hand to a game-force, first show­ing his ex­cel­lent club suit, then jump­ing to four spades. (Note that the auc­tion is the same in two-over-one, North’s four-spade re­bid in­di­cat­ing a min­i­mum game-force.)

When West sees the dummy, it should be clear to him that his side must im­me­di­ately take two hearts and two di­a­monds -- but how?

East’s job at trick one is to say whether he does or does not hold the heart queen, the honor touch­ing those promised by West’s ace lead. If East does not, he plays his low­est heart. If he does, he plays the high­est heart he can af­ford, which here is the queen. This shows the queen and the jack. (It can­not be a sin­gle­ton queen, be­cause that would give South six hearts.) This should give West the key: At trick two, he leads a low heart to put his part­ner on lead for the fatal di­a­mond-queen shift.

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