A tough assignment for the countless
Englishman Alan Bennett wrote, “The bits I most remember about my school days are those that took place outside the classroom, as we were taken on countless theater visits and trips to places of interest.” Lucky him, and maybe that is what turned him into such a prolific playwright.
Bridge players who count lots will always beat those who count less. How does counting help South in this fourspade contract? West leads a diamond, and East plays three rounds of the suit.
North’s two-diamond cue-bid showed spade support and at least game-invitational values. South made a three-club help-suit game-try, and North jumped to game. North’s club holding wasn’t great, but he liked his fourth trump, and the vulnerable game bonus was attractive.
South has three top losers: two diamonds and one club. So he must avoid a heart loser.
The player who does not count ruffs the third diamond, draws trumps and drives out the club ace. East takes that trick and exits safely with a club. Now declarer will play a heart to the ace and a heart to his jack, going down one.
A counter notes that East has four or five diamonds, three spades and at least three clubs. So, he either has a balanced hand or is short in hearts. If East had the heart queen and a balanced hand, he would have had 15 points and opened one no-trump.
South should cash his heart king, then lead the jack and hope East has either a singleton heart queen, or singleton or doubleton 10.