SAFETY FIRST, SUCCESS SECOND
Dudley Moore said, “The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it.”
At the bridge table, the careful driver -- declarer -- who accommodates as many layouts as possible will come out ahead in the long run, even if sometimes an inferior line would have also worked.
In today’s deal, West leads the club king against six hearts. What should South do?
North’s four-heart jump-rebid promised four or more trumps and denied an ace, a king, a void or a singleton. It could have been made with zero points, so South’s jump to six hearts was a tad optimistic.
When the dummy appeared, South was very pleased with himself. He seemed to have 12 tricks via two spades, five hearts, four diamonds and one club. What could possibly go wrong?
The risk was a bad diamond break.
Maybe East or West held a singleton diamond honor, but South saw that he did not need to be that lucky. He won with his club ace, drew two rounds of trumps, unblocked his high spades, crossed to dummy with a trump, and ruffed the last spade. With his preparations nearly complete, declarer cashed the diamond ace, then led his remaining club. What happened next?
If the defender winning the trick led a spade or a club, South would have sluffed one of his low diamonds and ruffed on the board to gain an extra trump trick. Or, if that defender played a diamond, any diamond, declarer would have played second hand low and would have had no diamond loser. Clever!