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

Ben­jamin Franklin wrote, “A slip of the foot you may soon re­cover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.”

A slip of a card may cost you a con­tract, whether you are the de­clarer or a de­fender. It is im­por­tant, of course, that when an op­po­nent slips, you make him pay. Do not slide also and give him a chance to re­gain his foot­ing.

In this deal, how should South plan the play in three no-trump af­ter West leads the club 10?

That South hand, de­spite its 19 points, is close to a two-notrump open­ing be­cause it has seven ace-king points (two for each ace and one for each king). But the weak dou­ble­ton club sug­gests tak­ing the low road.

South starts with seven top tricks: two spades, two hearts, two di­a­monds and one club (at trick one). By far the best chance for two more win­ners is to play on di­a­monds. Af­ter tak­ing the first trick with the club jack, South should cash the di­a­mond ace. Here, when West plays low, de­clarer con­tin­ues with the king. When every­one fol­lows, de­clarer plays a third round, and he might well end up with an over­trick. This play has an a pri­ori 92.4 per­cent chance of suc­cess. (If West plays the di­a­mond nine or 10 on the first round, South should next lead a low di­a­mond to­ward dummy’s jack.)

At the ta­ble in a so­cial game, South slipped: He crossed to dummy with a spade at trick two, then played a heart to his jack. West de­fended ac­cu­rately by tak­ing the trick and lead­ing a sec­ond low club to keep com­mu­ni­ca­tion with his part­ner. Now the con­tract was over.

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