A near-cer­tainty, not a highly likely

Porterville Recorder - - SPORTS -


Stanis­law Leszczyn­ski, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithua­nia, Duke of Lorraine and a count of the Holy Ro­man Em­pire who died in 1766, said, “To be­lieve with cer­tainty we must be­gin with doubt­ing.”

In bridge, you pre­fer a cer­tain line of play, but of­ten guess­work will be re­quired. In this deal, for ex­am­ple, South is in four hearts. What should he do af­ter West leads a low spade?

I like North’s one-no-trump re­bid, show­ing hand type and strength as quickly as pos­si­ble. Yes, if South has to pass, North­south might miss a prefer­able spade con­tract. But that is un­likely, and keep­ing the de­fend­ers in the dark about North’s spade length could prove ben­e­fi­cial.

At one table, where West led the di­a­mond king (ace, nine, two), South was torn. He could see the threat­ened di­a­mond ruff, but to cash the heart ace and king risked los­ing two trump tricks if a de­fender had started with queen-fourth. In­stead, de­clarer took the trump-suit per­cent­age play of cash­ing his ace, cross­ing to dummy with a spade and run­ning the heart 10. How­ever, disaster struck. West won with his queen, cashed the di­a­mond queen and gave East a di­a­mond ruff. Then East tabled the club ace to de­feat the con­tract.

When the lead is a spade, though, South should have no prob­lems. He takes that trick and im­me­di­ately plays a club to drive out the ace. Here, if East per­se­veres in spades, ev­ery­thing works for de­clarer. If East shifts to the di­a­mond nine, South wins that on the board and dis­cards his re­main­ing di­a­monds on the club queen-jack. Then he can af­ford to run the heart 10.

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