Watch the spots to avoid road bumps
Here is one of Jeff Foxworthy’s redneck jokes: “If you think the last four words of the national anthem are ‘Gentlemen, start your engines,’ you might be a redneck.” When you are a bridge declarer, you try to play smoothly and make your contract. Like a race car driver, you try to steer around bumps in the road. In today’s deal, which bump should South avoid in three no-trump after winning the first trick with dummy’s heart 10? In the auction, after North opened with a weak two-bid, South sensibly used the artificial two-no-trump inquiry. He planned to pass if partner rebid three spades to show a minimum. Here, though, North replied with three no-trump. In the old days, this guaranteed a suit headed by the ace-king-queen. However, as that happened so rarely, nowadays this rebid indicates a maximum with a suit headed by at least the ace-queen-jack. (Note that four spades fails if East leads a club, West shifts to a diamond and West gets a club ruff.) South understandably wanted to score four club tricks, but just in case the break was bad, he carefully covered dummy’s six with his jack. West now made a very sneaky play -- she shifted to the spade 10! South never believed West could be underleading the king, so he won with dummy’s ace and successfully ran the club eight, underscoring his key play at trick two. Declarer took another club finesse, then cashed his remaining winners in that suit and hearts. Finally, he led the heart jack and was lucky that he had to score his diamond king.