Times-Herald (Vallejo)

Watch for bumps in the contract’s road


Bob Hope was well known, along with Dorothy Lamour and Bing Crosby, for the “Road to” movies. This was one of his wisecracks: “To give you an idea how fast we traveled: We left Spokane with two rabbits, and when we got to Topeka, we still had only two.”

In bridge, many contracts require starting quickly down the right road, a step in the wrong direction being fatal. How would you map out the play of today’s three-no-trump contract after West has led the spade queen?

After winning the first trick with the spade king, South saw that if he attacked diamonds immediatel­y, he couldn’t make his game. Even if they broke 2-1, he would be restricted to eight tricks: two spades, two hearts and four diamonds. Realizing he had to take strides in a different direction, South led a low club from hand.

If West had ducked, declarer would have won with dummy’s king and, with his ninth trick in, switched to diamonds. He would have led low from the dummy and covered East’s card. Therefore, West won with the ace and played a second spade honor.

This left South with only one street to safety: He led the club jack, simultaneo­usly picking up West’s queen and East’s 10. Now declarer had nine tricks: two spades, two hearts, one diamond and four clubs.

Nicely done, but East missed a chance to draw declarer down the drag to death. On the first round of clubs, he should have dropped the 10, not the two. Then South would have had the option of playing for East to have started with the Q-10 doubleton.

© 2023 UFS, Dist. by Andrews McMeel for UFS

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