Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday)



“Mediocrate­s was not the greatest hero in Greek myth, but neither was he the least.” — graffiti

Bridge is a game of error; nobody plays perfectly. A deal rarely passes by without at least one player doing something questionab­le, if not clearly wrong. Often, the par result is achieved when imperfect play and defense cancel each other out.

North-South arrived at four hearts; nothing wrong with the auction. West led the queen of spades, and South played low and won the next spade. He cashed the ace of trumps, then led a diamond to dummy’s queen. East took the king and returned ... the jack of trumps.

Declarer won, led a diamond to the ace, ruffed a diamond, ruffed his last spade in dummy and ruffed a diamond. He could get back to dummy with the ace of clubs and discard his club loser on the good fifth diamond. He lost a trump but made game.

Do you think the play and defense were worthy of Mediocrate­s?

When East took the king of diamonds, he should lead a third spade, forcing dummy to ruff. He dislodges declarer’s late entry to the good diamond in dummy. (As it happens, a diamond opening lead would always beat the contract, but I can’t fault West’s actual lead.)

It seems that South’s play was mediocre. He might ruff his third spade in dummy at Trick Four to return a low club toward his queen. If East takes the king and leads the jack of trumps, declarer can win, unblock his queen of clubs and go to the ace of diamonds to discard his last diamond on the ace of clubs. South dealer

N-S vulnerable


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