Sec­ond hand low or high on de­fense?

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - CLASSIFIED­S - By Phillip Alder

Sev­eral decades ago, Tom Lehrer wrote many amus­ing songs. Dur­ing one of his shows he com­mented, “It is sober­ing to con­sider that when Mozart was my age he had al­ready been dead for a year.” Maybe Lehrer found this harder to bear than any­one re­al­ized, for al­most as quickly as he came into showbiz, he re­turned to the world of math­e­mat­ics.

If Lehrer had been an ar­dent bridge player, he would have known when to play high and when to play low. Another per­son who knows the dif­fer­ence is French­man Claude Vi­gneron. This deal oc­curred dur­ing an in­ter­club match in the Marne Val­ley.

West’s bid of two no-trump showed at least 5-5 in hearts and clubs. It is sur­pris­ing that East didn’t sac­ri­fice in five hearts. Per­haps she was hop­ing to re­ceive a cou­ple of club ruffs to de­feat four spades.

Vi­gneron led the club king. De­clarer won with the ace and played a low trump. His plan was to duck this to East, win the re­turn (East was known to have started with a sin­gle­ton club), cash the spade ace and play on di­a­monds. He would have lost just three tricks: two spades and ei­ther a heart or a club at the end.

How­ever, Vi­gneron threw a tun­ing­fork into the works: He put up the spade king.

If de­clarer had ducked, West would have cashed two club tricks. So dummy’s spade ace was played. De­clarer con­tin­ued with a low spade from the dummy, but now East won with the 10 and cashed the queen. This left dummy with just one trump and de­clarer with only nine tricks.

Sack the song­writer who wrote the lyric “sec­ond hand low.”

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