THE NATURAL PLAY FAILS -- NATURALLY
Mark Twain claimed, “A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.”
That occurs at the bridge table when a player, usually the declarer, decides, for example, that he needs a suit to split favorably or a finesse to work, when in fact he can make his contract despite a bad break or a losing finesse.
What should South do in six hearts after West leads the spade nine?
When North raised hearts, South decided that slam could be anything from hopeless to laydown, and seeing no way to find out for sure, he went for the jackpot.
South starts with 11 top tricks: seven hearts, one diamond, two clubs and a club ruff on the board. So, naturally, he thought that he needed the diamond finesse. However, East’s bid had reduced the chance that that finesse would succeed. All of a sudden, he saw the winning line, which just assumed that West had led top of nothing.
Instead of making the natural play of covering the spade nine with dummy’s jack, South played a low spade and ruffed in his hand. He drew trumps and eliminated the clubs (king, ace, ruff). Then he led the spade queen from the board, and when East covered with his ace, declarer discarded a diamond. What could East have done now?
If he led a club (conceding a ruff-and-sluff) or a diamond (into the ace-queen), South would have claimed. When he tried exiting with a low spade, declarer pitched another diamond from his hand and won with dummy’s jack. Slam bid and made, naturally.