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


I am writ­ing this col­umn on a transat­lantic jet cov­er­ing a mile ap­prox­i­mately ev­ery six sec­onds. It is im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine that speed at 35,000 feet, but if we were do­ing it on a salt flat a la Don­ald Camp­bell, it would be a mix­ture of thrilling and scary.

De­fense and de­clarer-play are like that. Some­times speed is of the essence -- you need to be ac­tively try­ing to win tricks or elim­i­nate losers. At other times, you want to sit back and wait for win­ners to fall into your lap -- you play pas­sively.

Which is rel­e­vant in to­day's deal? Look at the West hand. What would you lead against four hearts: the spade three or club queen?

North's three-diamond re­bid promised at least a de­cent six­card suit and seven win­ners. South's three hearts was game­forc­ing and also in­di­cated a six­card or longer suit. North's four clubs was an ad­vance con­trol­bid, which said that he had heart sup­port, liked his hand for a slam and had the club ace, but did not have the spade ace (a suit he skipped over). South set­tled into four hearts.

North and South have the val­ues for game; they even dab­bled at a slam. West must be ac­tive, lead­ing the spade three. East wins with his ace and re­turns the spade 10, the higher of two re­main­ing cards. West over­takes with his jack and cashes the spade king. But where is trick four?

West, see­ing no mi­nor-suit win­ner avail­able, must try for a trump trick. He leads the 13th spade and hopes part­ner ruffs with the heart queen, which would ef­fect an up­per­cut.

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