The trap doors are nu­mer­ous

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Christo­pher Morley, a novelist and jour­nal­ist who died in 1957, said, “The real pur­pose of books is to trap the mind into do­ing its own think­ing.”

The real pur­pose of bridge col­umns is to try to make the reader do his own think­ing. Most deals have a trap that must be avoided, but to­day’s has more than one. To make four hearts, de­clarer’s tim­ing must be per­fect af­ter West leads the spade queen. For the en­er­getic, which lead from West would have de­feated the con­tract? South cer­tainly could have taken the bid­ding slower, but jump­ing to four hearts with such a self­suf­fi­cient suit was em­i­nently rea­son­able. (Note that five di­a­monds goes down af­ter a spade lead.) South wishes to draw trumps and run the di­a­monds for his con­tract. But this spade lead is an­noy­ing. If de­clarer takes the first trick, he can ruff a spade on the board, but he would have four un­avoid­able losers: two spades, one heart and one club. In­stead, South must let West hold the first trick. Sup­pose West now shifts to a di­a­mond. What must de­clarer do?

If South takes the trick and at­tacks trumps, a sec­ond di­a­mond from West cuts de­clarer off from the dummy. In­stead, South must win with his di­a­mond king, ruff a spade in the dummy, and drive out the club ace. Then, he can win the next di­a­mond trick on the board and dis­card his re­main­ing spade on the club queen. He loses only one spade, one heart and one club.

An ini­tial di­a­mond lead is lethal, as­sum­ing the de­fend­ers per­se­vere with a sec­ond di­a­mond when next on play.

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