THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THE LEAD SPILLS THE CLUB’S BEANS
Ronald Reagan said, “You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jelly beans.” I wonder how; discuss among yourselves.
Sometimes at the bridge table a call or play spills the beans, giving vital information to the opponents. This deal, played in a social game, is an example. South is in four spades and West leads the club three: two, jack, ace. How should declarer plan the play?
South jumped to game on the assumption that his side had a double fit, which is more delicious than your favorite ice cream. It was unlucky that North had such lousy clubs.
South could see a lot of potential losers: two spades, three diamonds and a club or two.
What was the opening lead?
To select a suit bid by an opponent like that, it would almost always be a singleton. So South planned on finessing his club 10 later.
Declarer led a trump at trick two. West accurately rose with his ace, but then erred by shifting to the heart jack. South won with dummy’s ace, cashed the spade queen, played a club to his 10, and eventually lost one spade and two diamonds.
Since West needed East on lead immediately, West should have led a diamond at trick three. Suppose declarer guessed correctly, playing dummy’s jack. Now East would have had to be very careful. After winning with his ace, he would have to return the club queen or nine for his partner to ruff away one of South’s honors. If instead East led a low club, South could have run it to dummy’s eight and later finessed his 10, then discarded a diamond from dummy on the club king.