THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
TAKE YOUR TIME TO SMELL THE POINTS
From “Romeo and Juliet,” we all know the line: “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
At the bridge table, sometimes it pays to take time to smell the high-card points, which by any other name would be as important.
How does that apply in today’s deal? South is in four spades. West leads the heart 10 to declarer’s ace. How should South continue?
West applied the Law of Total Tricks for his jump to four hearts. In a competitive auction (or when you are confident your side does not have the high-card values for game), bid as high as your side’s combined number of trumps. West knew about a 10-card fit, so jumped to the 10-trick level.
South saw four potential losers: one spade, two diamonds and one club. It looked as though he needed the spade finesse to work. But since there were only 17 high-card points missing, declarer took time to learn who held the club ace. At trick two, he led his club king.
West won with his ace and shifted to the diamond nine, but now South won with his ace and led the spade queen, tempting West to cover if he unexpectedly had the king. However, after West played low, declarer called for dummy’s ace to drop East’s king.
If East had not held the spade king, he would have opened with only 10 high-card points, which was highly unlikely.
When the opponents have been bidding, always check the high-card points when the dummy comes down. It will make it easier to place the missing key cards.