Text­book de­fense for all play­ers

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Eli Broad, the only per­son to build two For­tune 500 com­pa­nies in dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries (KB Home and SunAmer­ica), said, “How ab­surd that our stu­dents tuck their cell­phones, Black­Ber­rys, iPads and iPods into their back­packs when they en­ter a class­room and pull out a tat­tered text­book.” Do you agree? The re­sult in today’s deal rested pri­mar­ily on South’s play at trick one. This de­pended on his read­ing of West’s di­a­mond-three open­ing lead. Was that a sin­gle­ton or low from length with an honor in the suit? Sup­pose de­clarer judges it to be from length and plays low from the board. How should the de­fend­ers con­tinue from there? North might have raised one notrump to three no-trump in the hope that his club ace would help shore up that suit. Here, that would have worked well. But us­ing Stay­man could hardly be called an er­ror. Af­ter East takes the first trick, he should re­turn the di­a­mond seven (or, even bet­ter, his other honor!), a suit-pref­er­ence sig­nal telling part­ner that he has an en­try card in spades. West will ruff, shift to a spade and re­ceive a sec­ond ruff to de­feat the con­tract. With this lay­out, if South wins the first trick with dummy’s di­a­mond ace, he then has to guess the trump suit as well. The nor­mal play would be: heart to the ace, club to the ace, heart to the jack. Here, as you can see, that works swim­mingly. What about Broad’s com­ment? In some ways, I agree, but chil­dren should not be al­lowed to use cal­cu­la­tors to do math.

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