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


Doug Lar­son, a colum­nist and ed­i­tor, said, “If peo­ple con­cen­trated on the re­ally im­por­tant things in life, there’d be a short­age of ...” what?

Some­times you seem to be in a con­tract with a short­age of trumps. Then, af­ter as­sum­ing that part­ner mis­bid again, you must de­cide whether it is bet­ter to play on trumps to re­duce the num­ber of tricks the op­po­nents can take in the suit, or to try to score as many ruff­ing tricks as you can.

Which ap­proach is bet­ter for South in this two-spade con­tract af­ter West leads the di­a­mond nine?

Un­usu­ally, the auc­tion looks per­fect! Yes, East is stronger than he might have been, but to dou­ble two spades would have been dan­ger­ous. Here, it would have left West the un­pleas­ant choice be­tween mi­nus 470 (two spades dou­bled and made) and mi­nus 500 (three hearts dou­bled down two; surely North would have dou­bled).

South took East’s di­a­mond queen (a silly play that did not cost) with the king and played his heart. West won with the ace and led his sec­ond di­a­mond. De­clarer put up dummy’s ace and played a spade to the king and ace. The de­fend­ers con­tin­ued with a club to the ace, a di­a­mond ruff, the club king, a club ruff and a fourth di­a­mond, which pro­moted an­other trump trick for down two.

With win­ners out­side spades and rea­son­ably strong trumps, South should have played on spades. Af­ter three rounds, he could have at­tacked clubs and even­tu­ally lost only two spades, one heart and two clubs.

Lar­son said that there would be a short­age of fish­ing poles!

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