Times-Herald (Vallejo)

Two chances are better than one

- PHILLIP ALDER By Phillip Alder

The world is full of cliches, but they are derived from truth. For example: “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Not many of us actually put eggs in baskets, but at the bridge

table it is beneficial to have a second string to your bow — if you will excuse the cliche!

Against four hearts, West led the club king (king from ace-king or kingqueen in a bid-and-supported suit). He continued with the club ace. How should South have planned the play?

North’s three-club cue-bid raise showed heart support and at least game-invitation­al values.

Declarer ruffed at trick two, drew trumps and led a diamond to the queen. However, East won with the ace and returned the jack, establishi­ng his 10. Now declarer took the spade finesse, but it also lost, and West led his last diamond: down one.

Declarer should realize from the bidding that West will hold either the spade king or diamond ace. South should allow for both possibilit­ies. After drawing trumps, the correct play is to lead a low spade toward dummy’s queen.

If East wins with the spade king, West must have the diamond ace and there will be only three losers: one spade, one diamond and one club. Here, though, how does West defend? If he goes in with the spade king, South will discard dummy’s low diamonds on the spade ace-jack. Or, if West ducks the spade king, South

has no loser in that suit. Either way, declarer concedes only three tricks.

One final point: At trick one, East played the club two. If West had followed his partner’s discouragi­ng signal, he would have shifted to a diamond at trick two, defeating the contract.

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