With more than one way to turn
Jean Nidetch, the founder of Weight Watchers, said, “It’s choice — not chance — that determines your destiny.”
At the bridge table, the mathematically best line of play may fail when an inferior approach would have worked — although that almost never happens in this column.
In today’s Danny Kleinman deal, South is in six no-trump. What should he do after a heart lead?
In the auction, four no-trump was quantitative. Discuss this sequence with your partner.
South starts with eight top tricks: one spade, two hearts, four diamonds and one club. True, he probably has six diamond tricks, but he still needs extras from the black suits. Should he start on clubs or spades; and if clubs, how: ace and another, or low to the 10, or low to the queen?
If the spade finesse is winning (and diamonds are not 5-0), that gets declarer up to 12 tricks. But if it loses, South will probably need to find a singleton club king.
Similarly, playing the ace and another club might save a guess (East plays an honor on the second round), but could leave the contract down one at trick three.
So, it is best to start with dummy’s low club. But what do you do if East plays low smoothly? I would put in the 10 because most Easts with the king, especially king-doubleton, will win the trick, or at least think about it.
Here, the 10 loses to West’s jack, and another heart is returned. South takes that and plays a club to the ace. When the king does not appear, declarer must fall back on the spade finesse and diamond break.