Bridge

WHAT IS THE DAN­GER; WHERE IS THE SAFETY?

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

I am con­fi­dent that you have heard the line: "Out of this net­tle, dan­ger, we pluck this flower, safety." But from which of Shake­speare's plays does it come?

At the bridge ta­ble, part of the art of be­ing a suc­cess­ful player is spot­ting both the dan­ger to your con­tract and the safe route around that threat.

How does that ap­ply in today's deal? South is in five spades dou­bled, and West leads the di­a­mond two. What hap­pens next?

West might have opened four hearts, but that would have risked miss­ing a slam if part­ner had a de­cent hand. Af­ter East re­sponded one no-trump, South jumped to four spades, of course. Then West felt obliged to bid five hearts. How­ever, when South con­tin­ued with five spades, West ag­gres­sively dou­bled.

Clearly, West's lead is a singleton, un­der which East should play his three as a suit-pref­er­ence sig­nal for clubs. (Since he has no rea­son to play third hand high and count in the suit is ir­rel­e­vant, he can sig­nal suit pref­er­ence.)

If South im­me­di­ately at­tacks trumps, West will win with his ace, play a club to his part­ner's king and re­ceive a di­a­mond ruff to de­feat the con­tract.

South must cut the de­fen­sive com­mu­ni­ca­tion lines. He takes the first trick on the board, leads the heart king and dis­cards his club. He loses only one heart and one spade.

I dis­cov­ered that Hot­spur spoke that Shake­spearean line in Henry IV part 1, act 2, scene 3.

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