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


Robert Bench­ley, a hu­morist who died in 1945, said, "Draw­ing on my fine com­mand of lan­guage, I said noth­ing."

De­clarer is in to­tal com­mand of his side's forces; he fights the bat­tle alone. The de­fend­ers usu­ally work to­gether to de­feat a con­tract; rarely does one de­fender take to­tal com­mand and leave his part­ner play­ing third vi­o­lin, just try­ing not to re­nege.

Which ap­plies in this deal? West leads the heart queen against South's con­tract of three no-trump.

South's jump to game in­di­cated a balanced hand with a good 12 to 15 points, typ­i­cally at least two stop­pers in the in­ter­venor's suit and fewer than four spades be­cause he did not make a neg­a­tive dou­ble. North had no rea­son to be­lieve that five clubs would be better. (Note that that con­tract goes down if East leads a heart, or cashes a high trump and shifts to a heart at trick two.)

South has six top tricks: three spades, one heart and two di­a­monds. He will get a sec­ond heart win­ner, but must es­tab­lish dummy's clubs, which in­volves los­ing the lead twice. He is in jeop­ardy.

A meek East would sig­nal ex­u­ber­antly with the heart 10 at trick one. Then, af­ter South played low, East would sit back and wait ... and wait ... and wait ... for part­ner to lead a sec­ond heart. Prob­a­bly West would shift to a spade, but now South would get home with an over­trick.

A more com­mand­ing East will see that he is get­ting on lead twice in clubs. He will over­take the heart queen with the king and con­tinue the suit should de­clarer duck. Now the con­tract goes down.

If you see how to de­feat a con­tract, take com­mand.

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