THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THE BIDDING HELPS THE DECLARER PLAY
Evan Daugherty, a screenwriter, director and editor, said, “Those are the two best words in English: ‘bidding’ and ‘war.’”
These are the two best words in bridge: “bidding” and “cardplay.” And they are certainly interrelated. The bidding often helps one side or the other in the cardplay — as in this deal from a private game with four experts.
South was in five diamonds. West led the heart queen. East won with his ace and returned a heart. How did declarer continue?
North’s one-club opening bid was Precision, showing at least 16 points. South’s pass over East’s one-heart overcall announced either zero to 4 points or the desire to double one heart for penalty. The rest of the auction was natural.
The bidding strongly suggested that West had the spade king and diamond length. But if South took the second trick with dummy’s heart jack, how would he have continued? Appreciating that he needed to be in his hand, declarer won with his heart king, played a spade to dummy’s queen, and cashed the diamond ace to get that unsurprising news. Then he took the spade ace, West correctly dropping the king, the card he was known to hold. However, South ruffed a spade with his diamond 10, played a diamond to dummy’s jack, cashed the diamond king, and led a high spade. He lost only one heart and one diamond.
Note that if East had never bid, it would have been much harder for declarer. When you do not expect to win the auction, silence can be golden.