by Phillip Alder

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK -

THE INI­TIAL PASS HELPS AS USUAL

Ge­orge Eliot, whose real name was Mary Anne Evans, wrote, “An­i­mals are such agree­able friends -- they ask no ques­tions, they pass no crit­i­cisms.”

Un­less the an­i­mals are in the Vic­tor Mollo bridge sto­ries. Some of those are highly crit­i­cal of their part­ners’ play.

Can you avoid part­ner’s feel­ing crit­i­cal at the end of to­day’s deal? You are in four hearts. West leads the spade ace, cashes the spade king and plays a third spade. You ruff high in the dummy, and East con­trib­utes the queen.

Two spades was a cue-bid raise, show­ing a max­i­mum pass with heart sup­port. South’s jump to game was slightly ag­gres­sive.

At first glance, you need one mi­nor-suit fi­nesse to work, but in fact, aided by West’s ini­tial pass, the con­tract is as­sured with a coun­ter­in­tu­itive play.

At trick four, cash the heart king, then play a di­a­mond to­ward your jack. What might hap­pen?

If West can take the trick with the di­a­mond king, then the club fi­nesse must be win­ning. West would have shown up with 10 points (spade ace-king and di­a­mond king), but could not open the bid­ding as dealer. He can­not also hold the club king.

Here, though, East is caught in a quandary. If he does not take the trick, your jack wins and you have no di­a­mond loser. A bet­ter de­fense is to win with the di­a­mond king and shift to a club. But you win with your ace, cash the heart ace and di­a­mond jack, cross to the board with a trump and dis­card your club 10 and club queen on the di­a­mond ace and queen. You take five hearts, three di­a­monds, one club and the spade ruff.

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