Times-Herald (Vallejo)

Think first, play second, win third

- © 2022 UFS, Dist. by Andrews McMeel for UFS

Today’s cliche is: “Look before you leap.” It is often written that more contracts are lost by the wrong play at trick one than at any other single trick. There is an excellent way to cut down your errors at trick one:

work out your plan of campaign before you play from the dummy.

In today’s deal, West led the diamond king against five clubs (king from ace-king and king-queen at the five-level and higher). How should South have tried to win 11 tricks?

South opened with a strong, artificial and forcing two clubs. North’s two diamonds was a negative response. After two natural bids, South momentaril­y wondered about passing out three no-trump, a contract that surely would have lost the first six tricks.

South ruffed the diamond king with the club two, then sat back to consider the problem — too late! Eventually, he cashed the club ace, hoping to drop a singleton eight. Then he led the spade king. However, West signaled with his seven to show an even number, so East had no inclinatio­n to hold up his ace. When South had to lose two heart tricks, he was down one.

If South had paused before playing from the dummy at trick one, he might have noticed dummy’s great

club cards. He should have ruffed high at trick one and led the spade king. Let’s assume it is won by East, and he switches to a heart. South wins with his ace and leads a low trump toward dummy. Eventually, he gets into the dummy with a club and discards his heart losers on the spade winners.

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