Count the points for bridge success
M. Grundler said, “It’s easy to identify people who can’t count to 10. They’re in front of you in the supermarket express lane.” Recently, though, I heard about someone who joined the express lane with a cart piled high. But when he got to the front of the line, the checkout employee asked him which 10 items he was going to purchase. As I might have mentioned before, the more counting you do at the bridge table, the more tricks you will find in your cart. This deal was sent to me by Danny Kleinman of Los Angeles. It was played in a duplicate, where overtricks were very important, but even in a teams event or Chicago, the same defence would have been correct. First, look only at the West hand. After three passes, South opens two no-trump, and North raises to game. What should West lead? Since other leads are far too dangerous, West should choose the spade eight. South wins the first trick with the spade ace, plays a diamond to dummy’s queen and returns a club to his queen and West’s king. What should West do? The play so far marks South with the spade ace-king, diamond ace-king and club ace-queen, a total of 20 points. He cannot also have the heart queen. West should shift to the heart five. Here, East will win with his 10 and return the suit, West unblocking his king under dummy’s ace. Then the contract fails. Even if East has to win the first heart with the queen, this shift saves the overtrick and a lot of matchpoints in a pairs game.