Milan Kundera was a Czech writer who went into exile in France in 1975. He wrote, “Without the meditative background that is criticism, works become isolated gestures, ahistorical accidents, soon forgotten.”
Are bridge deals that escape criticism by a player or writer immediately forgotten? Usually, but not always. However, in today’s deal, the key word is “isolated.” What happens in three no-trump after West leads his fourthhighest heart?
North was planning to rebid three clubs to invite game, but when South rebid two no-trump, guaranteeing at least two clubs, North went for the ninetrick game. (A three-club rebid here by North should be treated as game-forcing. Also, if you use two-overone game-forcing, I believe that an immediate threeclub response should be game-invitational.)
After a heart to East’s ace, declarer has four top tricks: one spade, two hearts and one diamond. Obviously, he hopes to establish and run the clubs; and he will do just that if East is a signed-up member of the “return partner’s lead in no-trump” club. South will win trick two with his heart king, drive out the club ace and take at least nine tricks.
But a thoughtful East will see the threat posed by the clubs. As long as declarer has only two clubs, the suit can be isolated if dummy’s side entry can be removed.
At trick two, East must shift to the diamond king. Then the contract will fail.
This sacrifice of a high honor to kill an opponent’s entry is called the Merrimac Coup.