Gulf News

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.

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