Bridge

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

THE NO-TRUMP RULE THAT USU­ALLY WORKS

Jean Kerr, a hu­morist, au­thor and play­wright, said, "I think suc­cess has no rules, but you can learn a great deal from fail­ure."

In bridge, there are some rules that will lead to suc­cess -- or, in con­trast, if they are ig­nored, you will learn from your fail­ure. But the game re­mains pop­u­lar be­cause there are so many deals on which one can cal­cu­late that the usual rule does not work.

What is the key rule for South in to­day's deal? He is in three no-trump, and West leads the spade six. (As a side is­sue, look­ing at all 52 cards, how must de­clarer play if West leads the heart jack?)

If South had bid two notrump over his part­ner's take­out dou­ble, it would have shown some 10 or 11 points. North, play­ing part­ner for six or seven points, cue-bid three spades, ask­ing South to bid three notrump with spades stopped.

Af­ter a spade lead, de­clarer sees five top tricks: two spades and three di­a­monds. He needs to es­tab­lish three tricks in clubs and one in hearts. But that means los­ing the lead twice, pre­sum­ably once to West and once to East.

With two stop­pers in their suit and two high cards to dis­lodge, duck the first trick.

South takes the sec­ond spade and plays a club. West can win, but doesn't have an­other spade to lead. (Note that if de­clarer plays a heart at trick three, West should put up his jack. Then East should take dummy's queen with his ace and re­turn that suit, not a spade.)

On the heart-jack lead, South must play low from the dummy to get home.

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