THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
REALIZING THE ROSES ARE MALODOROUS
Erma Bombeck said, “My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?”
At the bridge table, if someone makes a smelly play, even if the cards do not instantly catch fire, you should care. Try to work out what is happening and what you can do to stop your opponent’s score from multiplying.
In this deal, South is in three no-trump. West leads the spade nine. How should East plan the defense?
North was right to jump to three no-trump. With no singleton or void and insufficient points to think about a slam, just go for the nine-trick game.
South starts with eight top tricks: three spades and five clubs. He needs to get a heart trick, but if the opponents take their heart ace and shift to diamonds, they might be able to take four tricks there for down one.
Declarer’s best shot is to win the first trick with his spade king, cross to the dummy, and call for a heart.
If East is napping and plays low, South gains his ninth winner and can claim.
However, East should notice things are looking bad for his side. The spade-nine lead was top of nothing, marking declarer with the three high spades. Given dummy’s club winners, he is almost home. South is surely trying to sneak his ninth trick.
East must dive in with his heart ace and shift to the diamond two. Here, that works perfectly for the defense.