Bridge THE ABIL­ITY OF YOUR OP­PO­NENT

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - By Phillip Alder

Abra­ham Lin­coln said, “Tact is the abil­ity to de­scribe oth­ers as they see them­selves.”

One skill of a suc­cess­ful bridge player, es­pe­cially one who plays a lot of Chicago or cut-in rub­ber bridge for money, is know­ing the strengths and short­com­ings of his op­po­nents.

In to­day’s deal, South is in four spades. West leads his sin­gle­ton heart. East wins with his ace, cashes the di­a­mond ace, then gives his part­ner a heart ruff. West ex­its with a di­a­mond. How should South con­tinue?

When North re­sponded with a trans­fer bid, East dou­bled to show heart length and strength. South’s jump to three spades was a su­per­ac­cept, promis­ing four-card sup­port. Butwith 4-3-3-3 dis­tri­bu­tion, it was an over­bid. He should have had a dou­ble­ton some­where.

South must draw trumps with­out los­ing another trick. But how? He needs to know the skill lev­el­ofEast. If he is a be­gin­ner, de­clarer is none the wiser. He has to guess what to do. But if East is an ex­pert, South should draw an im­por­tant con­clu­sion.

Why did East cash the di­a­mon­dace? Why­didn’the­give West his heart ruff at trick two, get back in with the di­a­mond ace and give his part­ner a sec­ond ruff to de­feat the con­tract?

The only log­i­cal an­swer is that East knows West has only one trump and that de­fense will ex­pose the spade po­si­tion when West does not ruff at trick four.

So, af­ter­win­ning trick four on the board, South should run the spade 10 through East. When West does dis­card, as ex­pected, de­clarer draws trumps and claims.

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