Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)


- By Phillip Alder

Bridge experts find winning plays that less imaginativ­e players don’t even consider. However, sometimes a creative play backfires — as in today’s deal.

North’s three-heart rebid was safe as South would have rebid two hearts with four.

West led the club king: two, eight, six. West continued with the club three (low from three remaining): four, ace, seven. Back came the club five: jack, queen, 10. What should West lead now?

Most players would exit “thoughtles­sly” with a diamond. As you can see, this unimaginat­ive play defeats the contract.

An expert, though, notices an alternativ­e possibilit­y. Suppose East has the spade jack but no diamond ace. Then a fourth round of clubs, ruffed with that jack, will effect an uppercut. South will have to overruff, and West’s spade 10 will be promoted as the fourth defensive trick. Also, even if East doesn’t have the spade jack, the ruff-and-sluff apparently cannot cost as East can ruff with any spade to stop South from discarding a loser.

However, West’s safe-as-houses play boomerangs. Declarer ruffs with dummy’s spade six and, when East cannot overruff, discards a diamond loser.

Then South draws trumps and throws his second diamond loser on dummy’s third heart.

West was unlucky, but should East have cashed the diamond ace at trick three? Definitely. He knew from West’s club-three lead at trick two — his original fourth-highest — that they were going to win three club tricks. Finally, if South were void in diamonds, surely the contract was unbeatable.

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