Cecil Whig - - COMICS & PUZZLES - By Phillip Alder

Take your time when on de­fense

Saint Au­gus­tine, who died in A.D. 430, said, “Pa­tience is the com­pan­ion of wis­dom.”

Many in­ex­pe­ri­enced de­fend­ers lack pa­tience when it comes to tak­ing tricks. “Win now and think later” is a preva­lent at­ti­tude, of­ten with costly con­se­quences. This deal is an ex­am­ple; but first, what do you think of the auc­tion? North’s two-heart re­sponse was nat­u­ral and promised in prin­ci­ple at least eight points. North thought about open­ing two hearts, plan­ning to in­tro­duce his clubs on the next round if it seemed ex­pe­di­ent. How­ever, he was in the sec­ond po­si­tion, when one prefers to have a text­book hand for a pre­emp­tive open­ing. South, with only 15 high-card points, was light for her two-club open­ing, but she had only a three-loser hand, and own­ing spades gave her con­trol over the auc­tion. After that, the auc­tion was sen­si­ble, North cor­rectly up­grad­ing his hand.

West had a tough lead. I think I would have se­lected the heart king, or per­haps the club jack. The di­a­mond three would have been tempt­ing too, but would have been fa­tal here. The trump lead risked cost­ing part­ner a trick in the suit, but was safe this time.

South played three rounds of spades, dis­card­ing hearts from the board and putting East in. To de­feat the con­tract, East had to shift to a heart or a low di­a­mond, but chose to cash the di­a­mond ace. Then he cashed the club ace, and de­clarer ac­cu­rately threw her king. Now South could get to the board with the club queen and cash the heart ace to dis­card her di­a­mond 10.

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