Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - If you would like to con­tact Bobby Wolff, email him at bob­[email protected]­

Oh, or­der! Ma­te­rial or­der, in­tel­lec­tual or­der, moral or­der! … To know where we are go­ing and what we want; that is or­der. To keep one’s word, to do the right thing, and at the right time: more or­der. — Henri Amiel

To­day’s deal sees North stretch just a frac­tion to treat his hand as a game-forc­ing spade raise, then sign off upon find­ing short hearts op­po­site. South has more than enough to drive to slam (though pes­simists could use Black­wood first if they pre­fer), since even fac­ing the most un­suit­able hand, there will prob­a­bly be play for slam on most leads.

West is for­tu­nate to have been dealt a se­quence on lead, and that gives de­clarer no help. How should he play to com­bine his chances for 12 tricks? He has two slow losers (in clubs and di­a­monds) and two queens whose value he can ex­ploit if he uses them ef­fi­ciently. He can take a heart fi­nesse and dis­card his di­a­mond loser from hand, or he can lead to the club queen: If he finds West with the king, he can pitch his di­a­mond loser from dummy on his top club.

It looks log­i­cal to win the di­a­mond lead and draw trumps end­ing in hand, but then de­clarer has to com­mit him­self, and the or­der of his plays is crit­i­cal. He must play West for the club king by lead­ing to­ward the club queen. If this fails, he still has time to take the heart fi­nesse. Con­versely, if he fi­nesses in hearts first and loses, there is no sec­ond chance. He can­not avoid a club loser.

As the cards lie, West will take his king and re­turn a di­a­mond, but de­clarer can win and un­block clubs, then ruff a heart to hand to pitch the di­a­mond loser from the North hand on the club ace.


three clubs Your him­self, part­ner so did pre­sum­ably not com­pete he has to a dou­ble­ton spade and no more than five clubs. My best bet to beat the con­tract might be to lead a trump and kill the club ruffs in dummy, in the hope that nei­ther hearts nor di­a­monds will be easy for de­clarer to es­tab­lish. The di­a­mond king is too com­mit­tal an open­ing lead for my taste.


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