When dummy’s suit looks threat­en­ing

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

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.

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