THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
WORK UP THE RANKS WITH PROMOTION
Francis Ford Coppola said, “When newspapers started to publish the box office scores of movies, I was horrified. Those results are totally fake because they never include the promotion budget.”
I never thought of that. And not many Easts would think of the winning defense in today’s deal. How can East defeat four spades after West leads the heart nine?
The auction was straightforward and quantitative, North’s rebid in principle showing a balanced hand (no singleton or void) with (typically) seven losers and 13 to 15 support points (counting high-card points and shortage points).
Although it goes against the usual recommendation of experts, West might have led the club ace, since it was the unbid suit. If he had, East would have had to discourage with his six, not encourage a club continuation with the 10.
When West instead led high from his heart doubleton, East won with his queen, cashed the ace, and played a third round of the suit.
Momentarily, this looked good. If declarer had ruffed high, West would have gained a trump trick to go with his club ace. However, instead, South calmly discarded his singleton club. West trumped and tried to cash the club ace, but declarer ruffed, drew trumps, and claimed.
There is a golden rule of trump promotion: Cash all of your side-suit winners first. After taking his two heart winners, East had to cash the club king before playing the third heart. And if you know someone capable of finding that play, ask her or him to partner you.