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

Ben­nett Cerf, one of the founders of Ran­dom House, said, "Gross ig­no­rance is 144 times worse than or­di­nary ig­no­rance."

That's the sort of clever com­ment some peo­ple -- like me! -- wish they had thought of first. In to­day's deal, though, the word "worse" was used by the orig­i­nal de­clarer. He was in four hearts. He ruffed the clubace lead, drew two rounds of trumps leav­ing the queen on the board, cashed the di­a­mond ace and king, then played a third di­a­mond. How­ever, East won with the queen and shifted to the spade queen. Three spade losers later, de­clarer was one down.

"Did you ever see a worse dis­tri­bu­tion?" South asked his part­ner. "East had the di­a­mond queen and West had ace-third of spades. If the di­a­mond queen or spade ace had been dou­ble­ton, or the di­a­mond queen with West, I would have been all right."

North agreed that his part­ner was un­lucky. How­ever, af­ter the ses­sion, what did he point out that his part­ner had missed?

Af­ter ruff­ing at trick one, South could have made the con­tract with some ex­cel­lent guess­work. The cu­ri­ous may work it out. But much sim­pler was not to ruff; in­stead, to dis­card a di­a­mond. Sup­pose West switches to a di­a­mond. South wins with dummy's king, draws trumps, plays his last di­a­mond to dummy's ace and leads an­other di­a­mond. Here, the queen ap­pears, so de­clarer ruffs, crosses to the heart queen and dis­cards a spade on the di­a­mond jack. If East plays low on the third di­a­mond, South pitches a spade and can­not be de­feated even if West wins the trick.

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