THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
KEEP HUNTING FOR THOSE TRICKS
Tom Flynn, an author, journalist and novelist, said, “Be sure you positively identify your target before you pull the trigger.”
As I mentioned yesterday, defenders should identify their target, the tricks that they need to defeat the contract. Then they should pull the trigger — play the necessary cards.
In this deal, how should West have defended against three spades? He led the heart ace: three, nine, five. He continued with the heart king: six, four, seven. What should he have shot next?
South’s jump to three spades was game-invitational, guaranteeing at least a six-card suit.
Since East had played high-low in hearts, West knew that South had begun with three hearts. So West could see four tricks: one spade and three hearts. But where was the fifth winner?
If West shifted to his club, took the next trick with the spade ace, and gave his partner a heart ruff, perhaps he could receive a club ruff in return. However, from the bidding East could not have two spades.
Instead, West had to gain a trick with the diamond king. But if South had the diamond ace and queen, East had to lead the suit. How could West get East on lead?
Right — he led his heart jack (not the two, which East might have read as a suit-preference signal for clubs, indicating that West was void in that suit). East, thinking that South still had the heart queen, ruffed. And when South played a low heart, East correctly understood his partner’s play. East shifted to the diamond jack — down one.