THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder

Marco Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida, said, “Leadership cannot be measured in a poll or even in the result of an election. It can only be truly seen with the benefit of time. From the perspective of 20 years, not 20 days.”
Or perhaps, from our point of view, the perspective of the next four years, not four days.
While we vote and await the result of the presidential election, how would you vote for the right line of play in this deal? South is in four hearts. West cashes his top three diamonds, then shifts to a spade.
West’s one-club opening bid is followed by two passes. South is in the balancing seat. Here, three bids change their meanings. A one-no-trump overcall is weak (11 to 14 points), not strong. A two-no-trump jump-overcall is natural, not unusual. (It usually shows 20 to 22 points, but perhaps a point or two fewer if South has a good six-card minor suit. It does not promise 5-5 in the two lowest unbid suits.) And a jump overcall in a suit is intermediate, not weak. This South hand is a tad strong, but to double when so short in spades (planning to bid hearts next) is dangerous.
Declarer must play the trump suit without loss. Yesterday, we learned that, taken in isolation, the correct line is to finesse on the first round. However, never forget the bidding and its effect on the placement of the honor cards.
Because West opened and there are only 13 high-card points missing, he is a heavy favorite to have the heart queen. South should play hearts from the top.

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