Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - OUR TOWN - BOBBY WOLFF If you would like to con­tact Bobby Wolff, email him at bob­by­wolff@mind­

Switzer­land would make a mighty big place if it were ironed flat.

— Mark Twain Jean Besse was Switzer­land’s great­est bridge player, who wrote in­tel­li­gently about the the­ory of the game. In one column, he re­ferred to the ir­rel­e­vant small cards as neu­tri­nos and ex­plained how you had to be care­ful not to void your­self pre­ma­turely in a suit and give away un­nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion to de­clarer to al­low him to count out your hand.

This deal from the 1993 Ep­son Si­mul­ta­ne­ous Pairs (held at the top of the Post Of­fice Tower in Lon­don) demon­strates the prin­ci­ple to good ef­fect.

When North-South reached six notrump, West elected to make a pas­sive heart lead. De­clarer cashed the club ace and king, then ran the hearts as East dis­carded di­a­monds. West threw three di­a­monds, and now de­clarer played a spade to the queen and king.

West care­fully re­turned a low club, and de­clarer mis­guessed by in­sert­ing the queen, East throw­ing a spade, and South a di­a­mond.

So far, so bad, but at this point, the di­a­mond ace forced a spade out of West. De­clarer now knew that both de­fend­ers only had one spade left, since East was guard­ing di­a­monds and West clubs. He could thus play a spade to his ace in com­plete con­fi­dence, and drop West’s jack.

Did you note West’s er­ror? Since she was go­ing to have to pitch a spade sooner or later, it would have been right to dis­card it on the sixth heart. Then de­clarer would not get the com­plete count on di­a­monds and even­tu­ally would have to guess spades. AN­SWER: This is a hand where slam might be lay­down or 10 tricks might be the limit. You have too much to go qui­etly and set­tle for game, but start with a game-try of three di­a­monds (yes, this is forc­ing) to see whether part­ner can co­op­er­ate. If not, set­tle for game.

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