Straight think­ing while on de­fense

Cecil Whig - - & & -

By Phillip Alder

Dame Edith Sitwell, an English poet who died in 1964, said, “I have of­ten wished I had time to cul­ti­vate mod­esty. ... But I am too busy think­ing about my­self.”

Some bridge play­ers are too busy think­ing about their hand and do not con­sider part­ner’s plays and prob­lems. In this deal, how can the de­fend­ers de­feat three spades af­ter West leads the heart king?

West was just about worth his nudge to two hearts. At least he had good trumps, even if the rest of his hand was waste pa­per. North’s three hearts was a cue­bid raise, show­ing at least gamein­vi­ta­tional val­ues with three or more trumps. South had no in­ter­est in go­ing higher.

If West, af­ter win­ning the first trick, has his head in the clouds, he will im­me­di­ately con­tinue with the heart queen. Then the con­tract can­not be beaten.

At trick one, it is East’s job to send an at­ti­tude sig­nal, to tell part­ner whether or not he would like an­other round of hearts played. Here, East knows that South has at most two hearts. East is also aware that his side needs five tricks. From where may they come?

The de­fend­ers surely have to take two hearts and three clubs. But that will al­most cer­tainly re­quire West to lead twice through dummy’s club king.

There isn’t a mo­ment to lose. East must dis­cour­age with his heart three at trick one. Then, if West is watch­ing and trust­ing, he will shift to a club. East will win that trick with his jack, play a low heart to his part­ner’s queen, and take two more club tricks when West leads that suit again. Nicely done!

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