Straight thinking while on defense
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!