Bridge

RATHER THAN HOPE, GET HIM TO HELP

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - by Phillip Alder

The Se­nior Life Mas­ter started his class with the ob­ser­va­tion that ac­tress Tal­lu­lah Bankhead had ad­vised some­one, “If you re­ally want to help the Amer­i­can theater, don’t be an ac­tress, dahling. Be an au­di­ence.”

If you re­ally want to help Amer­i­can bridge (the SLM con­tin­ued), don’t be an au­di­ence. Be a teacher and a player.

Look at the first de­clarer-play prob­lem on my hand­out. How would you coach South to play in five di­a­monds af­ter West leads a low heart, and East cov­ers dummy’s card?

While giv­ing them some time to de­cide, the SLM said that it was a good bid­ding se­quence. North liked his mi­nor-suit cards, but his heart king seemed use­less, so he wisely passed out five di­a­monds. Yes, five hearts dou­bled would have cost only 200 if East guessed the trump po­si­tion, but sac­ri­fic­ing at un­fa­vor­able vul­ner­a­bil­ity is dan­ger­ous.

At first glance, South needs ei­ther clubs to break 3-3 (so that a spade can be dis­carded from dummy on the fourth round of the suit) or East to have the spade ace. But there is one more pos­si­bil­ity.

Af­ter ruff­ing at trick one, draw trumps end­ing in the dummy and ruff the sec­ond heart. Then play on clubs. When East dis­cards on the third round, South should lead his last club and dis­card a spade from dummy, leav­ing West end­played. If he leads a spade, de­clarer’s king scores. Or if West tries a heart, South sluffs a sec­ond spade from the board and ruffs in hand. In both cases, he loses only one trick in each black suit.

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