RATHER THAN HOPE, GET HIM TO HELP
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.