THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
DO NOT ASSUME A GOOD BREAK
Robert Fitzgerald, a translator of ancient Greek and Latin who died in 1985, said, “The test of a given phrase should be: Is it worthy to be immortal? ‘I guess I’ll split’ is not going to be immortal.”
Bridge players occasionally have to guess about a suit split. But they prefer not to need a favorable split to get home. This deal, as if you could not guess, is an example.
South is in five diamonds. West starts with the spade ace and another spade. Declarer takes the trick and cashes the diamond ace, West discarding a spade. How should South continue?
South was too strong to open one no-trump, showing 15-17 points. When West leaped majestically to three spades, indicating a seven-card suit and some 6-10 high-card points, North bravely competed with four diamonds. Now South wondered about suggesting a slam, but had a lot of losers.
Declarer had two aces to concede, so needed the club finesse to work. He also could not afford a second heart loser, but did not wish to rely on a 3-3 break or the 10 dropping doubleton.
South played a diamond to dummy’s king and called for the 10. To keep declarer out of the dummy, East covered with his jack. South won with his queen, played a diamond to dummy’s eight, and took the club finesse. When it won, declarer cashed the club ace and now carefully led the heart jack. East won and returned a heart, but South then led dummy’s club jack and ruffed away East’s king. Back to dummy with a heart, declarer cashed the club 10 and discarded his last heart. Nicely done!