Heads or tails, it’s win or win
Lee Kuan Yew, the prime minister of Singapore for 31 years, said, “I support the view that free trade in goods and services is a win-win situation.”
At the bridge table, usually when you take a finesse, it is a win or lose situation — but not always. In this deal, for example, how should South play in six hearts after West leads the spade queen?
In the bidding, South, understandably deeming his hand too strong for an immediate four-heart overcall, started with a takeout double. After West jumped preemptively to four spades, North, unsure who could make what, advanced with a slightly aggressive five diamonds. Then South bid what he thought he could make, being more worried about missing seven than going down in six. However, when the dummy appeared, South saw that he had only 11 top tricks: eight hearts, two diamonds and one club.
Declarer’s first reaction was to remove the missing trumps, cash the diamond king and play the diamond 10 to dummy’s ace. If the queen appeared, great; but if not, he could lead the club jack, getting home if East had the club king and queen, or either royal singleton or doubleton. (For his opening bid, East had to have at least one club royal.)
However, there was a much better line. After ruffing at trick one and drawing trumps, South led his diamond 10 and overtook with dummy’s jack. It was, “Heads I win, tails you lose.” If East took the trick, declarer would get the rest of the suit. Or, if East ducked, South could take two club finesses through East.