An ear­lier theme, but which one?

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Con­fu­cius, a wise fel­low, said, “By three meth­ods we may learn wis­dom: First, by re­flec­tion, which is no­blest; second, by im­i­ta­tion, which is eas­i­est; and third, by ex­pe­ri­ence, which is the bit­ter­est.” Bridge is rarely as sim­ple as one, two, three, but an­a­lyz­ing in log­i­cal steps is a great idea. South is in four hearts. West leads the club two. How should East plan the de­fense? The North hand was close to a two-no-trump open­ing, but not good enough. (If you count two points for an ace and one for a king, a typ­i­cal two-no-trump open­ing con­tains seven points; this hand had only five.) East had an easy two-club over­call. South had a min­i­mum two-heart re­sponse, but he was right not to make a neg­a­tive dou­ble with a sin­gle­ton spade, and he was too strong to pass. North, know­ing his partner had at least five hearts, jumped to game. First, East should check the points -- a theme of all deals. Dummy has 19, East holds 11, and South promised 10. So, West’s main job is to avoid reneg­ing! Second, East can see only two de­fen­sive tricks: his aces. He must hope partner has led a sin­gle­ton. Third, East wins with his club ace and care­fully re­turns the jack, his high­est-re­main­ing club be­ing a suit-pref­er­ence sig­nal for spades, the higher-rank­ing of the other two side suits. West ruffs the trick and shifts to a spade. Now East must com­plete his job by win­ning with the ace and lead­ing a low club. When West ruffs with his second heart, it up­per­cuts the dummy and pro­motes a trump trick for East’s queen -- the fourth de­fen­sive trick.

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