When dummy’s suit looks threatening
George Eliot, a 19th-century English novelist whose real name was Mary Ann Evans, wrote, “Life is measured by the rapidity of change, the succession of influences that modify the being.” In bridge, if you have to change suits, do it rapidly. In today’s deal, South is in five hearts. West leads the spade king. South wins with his ace, draws trumps in two rounds (West discarding a low club), and returns a spade. After East completes a high-low with his doubleton, what should West do?
In the bidding, North’s jump to three hearts was pre-emptive. With game-invitational values (or more), he would have cue-bid three clubs. East’s raise to four clubs was brave (especially given that he had no singleton or void), but the vulnerability was in his favor. Then, when South bid game, West sacrificed in five clubs. Since South did not have a short suit, probably he should have doubled. If South had obtained a diamond ruff (which would have been a tough assignment), the contract would have gone down three.
At trick five, West was not sure what to do. If East had the club ace, leading that suit would have likely resulted in down two. Here, though, it would have cost the contract. Instead, West shifted to a diamond, which gave the defenders two spades and one diamond. But if it turned out that South had the ace-queen of diamonds, when West got in with his spade queen, he would have tried a club. Assuming East had the ace, this defense would have cost only an undertrick. If something else has occurred to you, tune in tomorrow.