The Union Democrat

Would you have found that defense?


David Mercer, who was an English dramatist, said, “Did you hear what the white rat said to the other white rat? ‘I’ve got the psychologi­st so well trained that every time I ring the bell, he brings me something to eat.’”

One of the arts of bridge is being able to enter the mind of another player — the declarer or a defender — and when there, to ask yourself what you would have done in his position.

Sometimes this will help you to ring the right bell.

South’s one-spade response is debatable. The key feature of the hand is the good club suit. However, players are brainwashe­d into thinking that only major suits are fit for bidding. Here, you will notice, five clubs is an excellent contract. However, South’s spade bid helped him in three no-trump.

West led the heart jack. Declarer won in hand with the ace and played off dummy’s two top diamonds. When the queen didn’t drop, South ran the club jack. West won with the king and, on auto-response, continued with another heart. Declarer claimed nine tricks.

“You had six clubs?” asked an incredulou­s West. “Sorry, partner. How could I tell?”

It was difficult, but suppose you were South with a guaranteed spade stopper. Wouldn’t you establish diamonds? South’s actual line strongly suggested that he was trying to run nine tricks without losing the lead and was giving himself a chance in each minor.

Whenever a competent player does something strange, ask yourself why. Maybe the answer won’t be so elusive, and it will help you to find the winning riposte.

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