The Signal

High then low equals win not loss

- By Phillip Alder

At the bridge table, does it pay over the long haul to be cautious or aggressive?

I think if you had asked an expert 40 or 50 years ago, you would have gotten a vote for cautious. Now, though, you will get a split decision — be aggressive in the bidding but cautious in the play.

In today’s deal, West, with an eight-card suit and a weak hand, would have usually bid immediatel­y at the four-level. However, West was worried about the adverse vulnerabil­ity. But if West had bid four hearts, probably South’s fourspade rebid would have ended the auction. When West bid only three hearts and North raised spades, South aggressive­ly jumped to slam, hoping that his partner had a little something useful.

South saw that he could ruff his two heart losers on the board. He won trick one in hand and cashed the heart ace, dropping East’s queen. Declarer paused, taking a quick look at East. Could that queen really be a singleton? No, it was obviously a false-card. South ruffed the heart six with the spade seven. Disaster! East overruffed and returned his last trump. Declarer had no home for his heart jack and went down one.

If only South hadn’t sent a boy to do a man’s job (and tried for the overtrick), he would have been safe. He should have cautiously ruffed the heart six with the spade 10. He would have returned to his hand with a club to the ace and ruffed the heart jack with the spade seven, not caring when East overruffed. The declarer would have won East’s return, drawn the last trump and claimed the slam.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States