Do not go slowly if speed is needed

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Ru­pert Mur­doch, me­dia ty­coon and quadri­mar­ried(!) per­son, said, “The world is chang­ing very fast. Big will not beat small any­more. It will be the fast beat­ing the slow.” Surely big will still have the edge over small most of the time. At the bridge ta­ble, though, slow and thought­ful will usu­ally de­feat fast and care­less -- but not al­ways. How does that ap­ply to this deal? South is in three no-trump. West leads the heart jack: three, two, king. What hap­pens af­ter that? North fol­lowed a text­book trans­fer se­quence, show­ing ex­actly five spades and game val­ues. South, af­ter tak­ing the first trick, un­blocks (cashes) his spade hon­ors and con­tin­ues with a low club. A de­fender who be­lieves im­plic­itly in sec­ond hand low will has­ten to con­trib­ute his club three, and de­clarer will claim nine tricks: five spades, three hearts and that club. When East played the heart two at trick one, he de­nied an honor in the suit. (With honor-dou­ble­ton, East would have tabled that high card to tell part­ner what was hap­pen­ing and, po­ten­tially, to un­block the suit.) So, West should im­me­di­ately credit South with three heart tricks. Af­ter see­ing the spade ace and king, West can give de­clarer five spade win­ners. If South also takes a club trick, he is home. With nary a nanosec­ond to spare, West must win the fourth trick, cash his di­a­mond ace (be­ing blind to East’s three; he couldn’t af­ford to sig­nal higher), and con­tinue the suit. In this way, the de­fend­ers quickly take one club and four di­a­monds to de­feat the con­tract.

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