Bridge

HOW LONG TO MAKE THIS GAME CON­TRACT?

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

He­siod, a Greek poet who died around 650 B.C., said, “Ob­serve due mea­sure, for right tim­ing is in all things the most im­por­tant fac­tor.”

Hear, hear! That has been our theme this week. To end, a deal that re­quires im­pec­ca­ble tim­ing for de­clarer to make his con­tract.

South is in four spades. West leads the heart king. What should de­clarer do?

North’s two-spade raise is no thing of beauty, but with three trumps, an ace and a dou­ble­ton, it is the right re­sponse. (Note that if you em­ploy two-over-one and a forc­ing one-no-trump re­sponse, when hav­ing three-card ma­jor-suit sup­port, you should go via one notrump only with an even weaker hand than this and typ­i­cally 4-33-3 dis­tri­bu­tion.) South, be­cause his hand is bal­anced, is thin for a jump to game, but it pays to be ag­gres­sive, es­pe­cially when vul­ner­a­ble.

First, South must as­sume trumps are 3-2. Even then, he is faced with four losers in his hand: one spade, two hearts and one di­a­mond. He must aim to ruff his third heart in the dummy -- but how?

Sup­pose de­clarer wins the first trick and re­turns a heart. Here, West can play a third heart, and East will over­ruff the dummy. Then East can put West in with the di­a­mond ace and ruff the next heart, ef­fect­ing an up­per­cut that pro­duces down two.

The se­cret is to duck the first trick, win the heart-queen con­tin­u­a­tion, cash two top trumps, and only then ruff South’s last heart. Even if East could over­ruff, it would be with his trump trick.

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