ACES ON BRIDGE
“Suf icient unto the day is the evil thereof” is terrible advice. Clearly, you should never put off until tomorrow something you can do today.
When you play four hearts on the lead of the spade nine, you cover with the 10 and win East’s jack in hand to play a diamond. West will win his ace and return a spade. The best you can do is win dummy’s ace and try to cash two diamonds. Alas, East will ruff away your diamond winner, leaving you with a loser in each suit. A trump at trick two works no better against accurate defense.
So, what can declarer do to avoid this fate? If he delays focusing on obtaining his diamond discard and instead tries to cut the defenders’ communications in clubs, he can come home via an indirect route.
Let’s say declarer wins the spade lead in hand and ducks a club. As the cards lie, the best West can do is win his queen and play a second spade. Declarer takes that in dummy and ruffs a club to hand to lead a diamond to dummy. When West ducks, declarer wins in dummy, ruffs a club and must now lead a heart. West can do no better than win the ace and return the suit. South ruffs the fourth club, exhausting both opponents of clubs, and inally leads a second diamond toward dummy. When West wins, he has only diamonds left to lead, so declarer’s spade loser goes away.