THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
FAIR-WEATHER FRIENDS ARE NOT SO GOOD
John Ruskin, who died in 1900, was an English art critic and philanthropist who also wrote on a wide range of subjects. He said, “Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”
Some people would not agree with that, especially those who live year-round in a warm climate. But at the bridge table, sometimes the weather looks inclement with bad suit breaks, but occasionally the sun still shines. In today’s deal, how should South play in three no-trump after West leads the heart king?
In this auction, South’s two-diamond advance was forcing for one round. (I like this agreement. If two diamonds is nonforcing, South has to cue-bid two hearts first with all good hands. I prefer a cue-bid to promise support for partner’s suit.) On the second round, South took a shot at the nine-trick game, hoping partner had something in spades (or that West would not lead that suit). Notice that five diamonds goes down on the likely heart lead.
South, in a sunny mood, thought he could see 10 easy tricks: two spades, one heart and seven diamonds. After taking his heart ace, declarer cashed his diamond ace and saw scudding dark clouds when West discarded a club.
However, he paused and realized that it would not rain as long as he unblocked dummy’s 10. Then South led a spade to dummy’s king, cashed the ace, played a diamond to his nine, and claimed an overtrick.