THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
MORE ON WATCHING THOSE EXTRA LOSERS
Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker and author, said, “The few who do are the envy of the many who only watch.”
At the bridge table, the few who watch are the envy of the many who look but do not take the next vital step.
The play theme in today’s deal catches out many less experienced players. They do not watch their losers or then work out how to eliminate the one that they cannot afford.
South is in four spades. West leads the heart queen. How would a watchful declarer play?
North used a transfer bid. On the next round, he was borderline between rebidding two no-trump and three no-trump. He was swayed by the good spade-suit quality into jumping to game. (Do not commit your side to a high-level spade contract unless you know of at least an eight-card fit. Here, South might have only a doubleton spade.) South, despite his 4-3-3-3 distribution, corrected to the nine-card fit. Note that three no-trump would fail after a heart lead. Those missing aces are fatal.
An observant South will see four potential losers: one in each suit. It is impossible to do anything about the three aces, so declarer must work out how to avoid conceding a heart trick.
If South plays a trump at trick two, East should win and return a heart, condemning the contract. Instead, declarer must lead a club at trick two. Suppose West ducks this trick, takes the second club, and plays another heart. South wins and cashes his last club, discarding dummy’s remaining heart. Now, finally, it is time to tackle trumps.