What was dummy’s critical spot-card?
Alan Perlis, a computer scientist and professor at Yale University, said, “It is against the grain of modern education to teach children to program. What fun is there in making plans, acquiring discipline in organizing thoughts, devoting attention to detail, and learning to be self-critical?”
A bridge player should think like a programmer, going from trick to trick as if following a flow diagram. Do you win this trick? Yes, then do this; no, then later do that. How did South program the play in this deal to maximize his chance of making four spades after West led the heart queen?
North’s two-no-trump response over West’s takeout double was the Truscott convention: four-card or longer spade support and at least game-invitational values.
South had four possible losers: one heart, one diamond and two clubs. He had nine winners: six spades, one heart and two diamonds. Was the club ace in the East hand? Not likely, given West’s double, and especially since the heart king was marked with East from West’s lead.
Declarer decided that he should try to endplay West. South played low from the dummy at trick one, the first key step.
If West had had ace-queen-third of clubs, it would have been right for East to overtake with his heart king and shift to the club jack, but that would not have worked here.
South took the second heart, drew trumps ending on the board, ruffed the heart 10, and played three rounds of diamonds. His luck was in: West had to win the trick and either lead away from the club ace or concede a ruff-and-sluff.