THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
IF YOU NEED A PITCH, WATCH YOUR ENTRIES
P.G. Wodehouse, a prolific English author who spent a lot of his life on Long Island, had several unhappy experiences with aunts when he was young. He transferred this animosity to his books, including this passage from a Bertie Wooster and Jeeves novel: “There came from without the hoof-beats of a galloping relative, and Aunt Dahlia whizzed in.”
Bridge players — whether an aunt or an uncle or another relative — need entries for various reasons, including to cash winners, to take finesses and to draw trumps. In this deal, what is the critical entry card that allows South to make four spades after West leads the heart queen?
A simple Stayman sequence leads to four spades. (Note that a red-suit lead defeats three no-trump.)
South starts with four losers: one in each suit. The careless declarer wins trick one and immediately plays a trump. But then West can win with his ace and lead another heart (East being careful to complete a high-low to show his doubleton). Suddenly South cannot avoid going down one.
The more thoughtful declarer realizes that he must eliminate the heart loser before touching trumps. And once the diamond ace has been dislodged, he can discard two hearts from the board. But he must be careful to win the first trick with dummy’s king. South then calls for the diamond six. East wins and returns the heart five, but declarer takes that with his carefully conserved hand entry, the heart ace, and cashes his two diamond winners, discarding dummy’s remaining hearts. Finally, with only three losers, he plays on trumps.