Bridge

Take good care of your key as­sets

The Star Democrat - - COMICS & PUZZLES - By Phillip Alder

Ed­ward Ev­erett Hale, an au­thor and his­to­rian, said, “Com­ing to­gether is a be­gin­ning; keep­ing to­gether is progress; work­ing to­gether is suc­cess.”

That sums up win­ning bridge part­ner­ships, es­pe­cially on de­fense. The most suc­cess­ful pairs are like ice dancers, mov­ing smoothly in sync to­gether. A bad de­fender wor­ries only about his or her own hand and never con­sid­ers part­ner. This deal oc­curred at Bridge Base On­line. At 14 of the 15 ta­bles, the auc­tion un­der­stand­ably ended in a partscore. In this auc­tion, my wife had been get­ting a run of poor cards, so she de­cided to open one spade! Af­ter East over­called two hearts, I cue-bid three hearts to show ex­actly three-card sup­port and at least game-in­vi­ta­tional strength. When my wife signed off in three spades, I nearly passed, but then three no-trump caught my eye. My wife, with the heart-king bol­ster, passed.

If West had just led the heart 10, the con­tract would have failed. East would have won with his ace and re­turned a low heart. I could have won with my nine, but East had two spade en­tries to set up and run his hearts. In­stead, West tried the club six. I won with my jack and played the spade nine. East took that trick and did well, lead­ing the heart ace. But now West wasted his sec­ond key card -- he played the 10. I won the next heart with my nine, squash­ing West’s eight, drove out the spade ace, won the third heart with my six and claimed an over­trick!

It was tough for West not to play the heart 10, but he just should have led that card at trick one.

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