Times-Herald (Vallejo)

It is hard to lose a trick unnecessar­ily

- By Phillip Alder © 2021 UFS, Dist. by Andrews McMeel for UFS

The “American Heart Associatio­n Cookbook” advises, “Eat before shopping. If you go to the store hungry, you are likely to make unnecessar­y purchases.”

Eating gains calories, and in excess can be harmful. Winning a trick increases your total, but it might prove to be a Pyrrhic victory. In the long run, you might have done better to go on a diet, conceding a trick that you could have won.

How should South plan the play in four spades on today’s deal? The defenders begin with two rounds of clubs.

I agree with South’s one-spade overcall (in preference to a takeout double). Get those five-card majors into the auction. East nearly rebid four no-trump, to show a minor twosuiter with shorter diamonds, but was dissuaded by the unfavorabl­e vulnerabil­ity.

South can afford one heart loser, but not two. If hearts are breaking 3-2, the contract is in no jeopardy, but what if they are 4-1?

After ruffing the second club, declarer played a diamond. West rose with his ace and led another club. South ruffed, trumped a diamond, played a spade to his ace, ruffed the diamond queen and cashed the spade queen. What did he do next?

South led a low heart from the board and played low from hand!

If East had taken the trick, he would have had to concede a fatal ruff-and-sluff. So West overtook with his queen and led the heart 10. Declarer won with his king, ran the heart eight and claimed.

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