THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
MISLEAD OPPONENT WITH SUBTERFUGE
Calvin Coolidge said, “The right thing to do never requires any subterfuge; it is always simple and direct.”
That is true most of the time at the bridge table — but not always. Occasionally, a little subterfuge might save the day.
Can you see a devious piece of deception for declarer in this deal? South is in four hearts. West leads the club nine. East wins with his ace and returns the suit.
North used a transfer bid showing five-plus hearts and zero-plus points. South used a superaccept, jumping to three hearts to promise a maximum with four hearts and a doubleton somewhere.
With three minor-suit losers, it looks as though the trump finesse had better be working. But a quick peek at the diagram shows you that it is losing. Does declarer have any chance?
East, after winning with the heart king, might retain his aversity to diamonds. Then declarer can draw trumps and discard two diamonds from the board, one on the third club and one on the fourth spade.
However, South has one other possibility. After winning the second trick, he should cash his third club and discard a spade from the board. Then he runs the heart queen. The finesse loses, but there is a good chance that East will shift to a spade. And if he does, declarer is home.
There are two other points. First, South has to think of that ruse — never stop considering the alternatives. And if East has a suspicious nature, it will be better to throw a diamond on the third club; then East will switch to a spade.