He’s got the hots for the smarts
Richard Thompson, one of the greatest-ever guitarists, wrote a song called “The Hots for the Smarts” that, sadly, has never been released on an album. But Augie Boehm’s latest book, “Bridge Smarts” (HNB Publishing), made me think of it. Boehm, who often takes part in duplicates with inexperienced clients, offers insights into key aspects of playing better -- hand evaluation and defense being at the top of the list.
The opening lead on this deal would be easy for an expert, but missed by many less-experienced players. Look at the West hand and the auction. What should he lead against four hearts?
West’s negative double showed exactly four spades and six-plus points. His three-diamond rebid was game-invitational. But the strange action was South’s jump to four hearts. One moment, he passed over two hearts; the next, he jumped to game after no further encouragement from partner. What is the explanation? Assuming South is a competent player, he must have length and weakness in diamonds. After West bid three diamonds, South knew that his partner had a singleton or a void and he could ruff his diamond losers on the board.
To cut down those ruffs, West must lead his trump. (Note that dummy rates to have only three hearts. With four and a diamond shortage, he would have bid three hearts over three diamonds.) Then East must play his part, leading another round of hearts when in with a high diamond. South will lose one spade, one heart and two diamonds.