AN ECHO OF LOSE ONE TO GAIN MORE
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, "Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together." A bridge deal starts when you carefully put 13 cards together. How you play those cards, of course, will determine your score on the deal.
Today, South is in six spades. What should he do after West finds the best lead of a trump?
North's four-club rebid was a splinter: four-card spade support, game-going values and a singleton (or void) in clubs. It was a slight overbid, especially since North has such bad trumps. If South had had weak spades and strong clubs, making three no-trump the best game, it would have been hard to get there over four clubs! But a three-spade rebid would have been a tad cautious. If only he could have bid three-and-twothirds spades.
The winning line, assuming there was one, depended upon guessing correctly. If trumps were 4-1, declarer needed the diamond finesse to be winning. But if the spades were the more-likely 3-2, he could afford to lose a diamond as long as he took two club ruffs on the board. Then, his 12 tricks would be four spades, two hearts, three diamonds, one club and the two ruffs.
However, it was not that straightforward. After quite some time running different play sequences through his mind, South saw the best plan. After the club ruff at trick three, he led a low diamond from the dummy. East won and played another trump, but declarer won, ruffed a second club, took the top hearts, ruffed a heart, drew the missing trump and claimed.