ACCURATE TIMING NEEDS ACCURATE PLAY
Eddie Huang, a restaurateur and chef, said, “People talk about perfect timing, but I think everything is perfect in its moment; you just want to capture that.”
Bridge players know that timing is usually important in every deal. Sometimes playing the tricks in exactly the right order is vital, but not always. In this deal, how should South time the play to make four spades after West leads the heart queen?
Four clubs was a splinter bid, which showed at least game values in spades with four-card or more support and a singleton (or void) in clubs.
South, counting his losers, sees four: one in each suit. If declarer takes the first trick and plays a trump, which many could not resist doing, the contract fails. East wins and returns a heart, which establishes a trick for West to cash when in with the club ace. (South should lead a sneaky club jack from his hand, but West ought not to fall for it.)
Since it is impossible to avoid conceding one spade, one diamond and one club, South must eliminate that heart loser. He needs to discard dummy’s third heart on his second high club. Yes, but declarer must time the play perfectly by winning the first trick on the board and leading the club. West takes that trick and perseveres in hearts, but South wins with his king and cashes the club queen to permit dummy’s last heart to be evicted.
Declarer takes four spades, two hearts, one diamond, two clubs and a late heart ruff in the dummy.
Finally, note that if South wins trick one in his hand, he goes down.