Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)


- By Phillip Alder

Without comedy, the world would be a much less tolerable place. We even use it to make light of serious subjects. For example, Christophe­r Fry, who was an English playwright and poet, wrote, “What a minefield Life is! One minute you’re taking a stroll in the sun. The next your legs and arms are all over the hedge. There’s no dignity in it.”

Some bridge deals are like minefields. You must step carefully, or you will end up with too many tricks on the opponents’ side of the hedge. In today’s deal, how would you plan the play in four spades? West leads the diamond king.

Whether you are the opener, responder or overcaller, you should avoid rebidding a five-card suit unless you have absolutely nothing else to do.

You start with eight tricks: six spades, one diamond and one club. For a split second, it might appear tempting to lead a low heart from the dummy, hoping a nervous East will put up the ace. But if he doesn’t, you will have nowhere left to turn.

With this diamond holding, it is common to win the second round, trying to cut the defenders’ communicat­ions. However, here a first-round duck will be fatal if West switches to a trump.

You must win immediatel­y and play a club toward your honors, hoping East has the ace with only one or two other clubs. After winning trick two with the club king, lead a low club from hand to guarantee one club ruff in the dummy. And if it is your lucky day — the mines having been disarmed — when you take that ruff, the ace will drop. This establishe­s the queen as your 10th trick.

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