You have to do what you have to do

Porterville Recorder - - SPORTS -


Fran­cois de La Rochefou­cauld, a 17th­cen­tury French es­say­ist, wrote, “We should man­age our for­tune as we do our health -- en­joy it when good, be pa­tient when it is bad, and never ap­ply vi­o­lent remedies ex­cept in an ex­treme ne­ces­sity.”

Start today by look­ing at the South hand. North opens one heart, South re­sponds one spade, and North re­bids two di­a­monds. What should South do now?

I do not mind North’s thin open­ing bid. He had an easy re­bid and was non­vul­ner­a­ble. South had two choices. He could have re­bid three no-trump, which risked end­ing the auc­tion when game or slam in di­a­monds would have been bet­ter. But to bid three clubs, fourth-suit game-forc­ing, was not with­out risk ei­ther. At the ta­ble, South went for the most likely game: three no-trump. (Note that five di­a­monds was hope­less.)

What should de­clarer have done af­ter West sur­pris­ingly led a low di­a­mond?

South had only three top tricks: one spade and two di­a­monds. But ob­vi­ously he had po­ten­tial win­ners in all four suits, the most prof­itable be­ing hearts. What was the per­cent­age play for four heart tricks?

De­clarer took the first trick with his di­a­mond king over East’s queen, then ran the heart nine. When it held, he con­tin­ued with a heart to dummy’s eight. East took that trick and shifted to a low club. West won South’s king with his ace and re­turned the club 10, which de­clarer ducked. South took the third club and led the spade queen: king, ace. Now de­clarer ran the heart suit, which squeezed West be­tween spades and di­a­monds, so the con­tract made with an over­trick.

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