Daily Bridge Club

Paus­ing in the play

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - FEATURES - By FRANK STE­WART

In the club lounge, my friend the English pro­fes­sor asked me if I knew the dif­fer­ence be­tween a cat and a comma. I said I had no clue.

“A cat has claws at the end of its paws,” the prof ex­plained blandly. “A comma is a pause at the end of a clause.”

South would do well to pause be­fore he tack­les to­day’s 3NT. When West leads a di­a­mond, South must put up dummy’s ace. If the miss­ing di­a­monds break 4-3 and West has two hon­ors, de­clarer’s play is moot; the de­fense will set up three di­a­mond winners. But if West has led from a five-card suit or from a four-carder with one honor, de­clarer can block the di­a­monds.

South next takes the A-K of clubs. If East-West fol­lowed, South could force out the ace of spades, win­ning four clubs, three spades, a di­a­mond and a heart.

But when West dis­cards a heart, South must pause again. To take nine tricks, he needs a sec­ond heart trick as well as three spades. West’s long di­a­monds are a threat. If West has two en­tries — both the ace of spades and king of hearts — South is sunk. But if West’s only en­try is the king of hearts, South must force out that en­try while the di­a­monds (he hopes) re­main blocked. So South lets the queen of hearts ride next.

West wins and leads a sec­ond low di­a­mond. He in­fers that East has the queen since de­clarer did not play low from dummy at Trick One. East wins and leads a club, and South takes dummy’s queen and forces out the ace of spades. East can cash his high club for the de­fend­ers’ book, but South has the rest. South dealer Nei­ther side vul­ner­a­ble

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