Con­tract Bridge

The Sentinel-Record - - COMICS, ETC. - Jay and Steve Becker

One trait that dis­tin­guishes the ex­pert de­clarer from the run-of-the-mill de­clarer is that he does not re­lax his vigil in the so-called easy hands. The ex­pert al­ways wor­ries about what might hap­pen to him if the ad­verse cards are dis­trib­uted un­fa­vor­ably.

Here is a typ­i­cal case where it would be easy to go wrong. Let’s say South wins the open­ing club lead with the king and leads a low trump. West fol­lows low, and dummy’s jack wins, East show­ing out.

That is the end of the road

for de­clarer, be­cause sooner or later he must lose two trump tricks and go down one. He could at­tribute this to bad luck, but the fact is that he him­self is re­spon­si­ble for los­ing the slam.

South can see from the out­set that six di­a­monds is icecold if he loses only one trump trick, and that the only way he could lose two trump tricks is if the op­pos­ing di­a­monds are di­vided 4-0.

Such a divi­sion oc­curs in only one deal out of 10, and nor­mally this pos­si­bil­ity would be neg­li­gi­ble com­pared with other dan­gers that might con­front de­clarer. But here there is no other threat on the hori­zon, so South should fo­cus all his con­cen­tra­tion on the un­likely -- but pos­si­ble -- 4-0 divi­sion.

Ac­cord­ingly, he should win the club lead in dummy and play a low trump to his king (or win the club in his hand and play the king of di­a­monds). After East shows out, it is not dif­fi­cult for de­clarer to limit him­self to one trump loser. West’s 10-9-4 can eas­ily be trapped later by lead­ing twice to­ward dummy’s Q-J-8.

It is true that ini­ti­at­ing the di­a­monds by play­ing the king first would not suc­ceed if East had the A-10-9-4, but in that case de­clarer could not make the con­tract what­ever he did.

To­mor­row: Test your play.

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