A bad po­si­tion is hard to find

Sherbrooke Record - - CLASSIFIED - By Phillip Alder

Ge­orge Carlin said, “Hon­esty may be the best pol­icy, but it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that ap­par­ently, by elim­i­na­tion, dis­hon­esty is the sec­ond-best pol­icy.”

In the real world at the bridge ta­ble, of­ten the sec­ond-best play will work — but, hon­estly, not al­ways. To­day’s deal was sent to me by Danny Klein­man of Los An­ge­les. He gave only the North­south hands. Even­tu­ally, I pro­duced a lay­out where the play he rec­om­mends is nec­es­sary. The sec­ond-best will work too, but the fifth-best will not!

What are those plays? South is in four hearts af­ter North’s Texas trans­fer. West leads the spade four, and East puts up the queen. How should South con­tinue?

The long-trump hand (North) con­tains four losers: one spade, two hearts and one club. The sim­plest way to elim­i­nate one is to ruff the third spade in hand. That is easy if trumps are 2-1, but if they are 3-0 and de­clarer plays a heart now, that de­fender can re­move all of South’s trumps. Yes, de­clarer might then be able to es­tab­lish his club suit, but not here.

The key point to re­al­ize is that if an op­po­nent has all of the trumps, he will not also have the club ace, be­cause then he surely would have opened the bid­ding. So, at trick two, South should lead the club king. West wins with the ace and plays a sec­ond spade. De­clarer ruffs a club high — care­ful, care­ful! — and, if East does not over­ruff, trumps the spade 10.

Note that if South takes his two top spades, then leads the club two, East can win with his five(!) and play three rounds of trumps.

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