Bridge

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

NOT ONLY PLAY ONE, BUT ALSO PLAY TWO

Deyth Banger, an English writer, said, “I want two things from you: First, an­swer ‘Why’ ques­tions, and sec­ond, wait be­fore you make your con­clu­sion.”

That isn’t a bad thought process for a bridge player. Why should you play one card rather than an­other? Be­fore you choose, is there some­thing bet­ter?

In this deal, South reaches our fa­vorite con­tract, three no-trump. What should he do af­ter West leads a fourth-high­est spade five?

In the auc­tion, North’s twoclub re­bid was New Mi­nor Forc­ing (rec­om­mended), ask­ing opener for more in­for­ma­tion. South’s two-di­a­mond con­tin­u­a­tion de­nied three­card heart sup­port.

South can see eight top tricks: one spade (given the lead), three hearts, three di­a­monds and one club. If hearts are 3-3, de­clarer will have no wor­ries. But if he must lose a heart trick, he might then con­cede too many spade tricks.

The first key play is to put up dummy’s spade queen at trick one. If East can take the trick and re­turn the suit, South ducks, wins the third spade, and works to keep West off the lead. Here, though, East plays low. Now de­clarer must try to stop East from win­ning a trick. South, rather than play­ing hearts from the top, should lead a low heart from the board and cover East’s card as cheaply as pos­si­ble.

Here, West takes de­clarer’s nine with his jack, but has no win­ning con­tin­u­a­tion. His best play is a club shift, but South wins with dummy’s ace, plays a heart to his king, re­turns to dummy with a di­a­mond, and takes his nine win­ners: one spade, four hearts, three di­a­monds and one club.

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