DO YOU LOOK FOR SPEED OR SAFETY?
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.