BRIDGE

Rome News-Tribune - - SPORTS - PHILIP ALDER CELEBRITY CIPHER By Luis Cam­pos DILBERT FRANK AND ERNEST BLONDIE

A.N. Ony­mous once said, “An ex­pert is one who knows more and more about less and less.”

But that is why she or he is an ex­pert — spe­cial­iza­tion. When you are the de­clarer at the bridge ta­ble, though, the more you know about one de­fender’s hand, the more you can de­duce about the other’s.

In to­day’s deal, South is pushed into five di­a­monds. West starts the de­fense with his two top spades. Af­ter ruff­ing the sec­ond on the board, how should South con­tinue?

West’s jump to four spades promised a good eight-card suit and some 6-10 high-card points. Now North had an awk­ward de­ci­sion. Dou­bling and tak­ing the money (as­sum­ing South passed, which he pre­sum­ably would have done here) was fea­si­ble. That would have net­ted only 200 from down one. In­stead North, lik­ing his of­fen­sive po­ten­tial, com­peted with five

di­a­monds.

De­clarer has to draw trumps with­out loss. If the op­po­nents had not bid, cash­ing the ace and the king would be math­e­mat­i­cally slightly su­pe­rior (by about two per­cent) to cash­ing the ace and fi­ness­ing on the sec­ond round (nine never). But now the odds have changed. West has only five spa­ces for the di­a­mond queen, while East has 11. Fi­ness­ing on round two is now al­most twice as good a play.

Even bet­ter is to start with dummy’s jack. If East plays low smoothly, South puts up his ace. If the queen drops, fine; if not, de­clarer re­turns to the board with a club and plays a di­a­mond to his 10. The plus of start­ing with the jack comes when East er­ro­neously cov­ers while hold­ing all four trumps.

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