THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
BE READY TO TACK IN A SUDDEN SQUALL
Don Hewitt, best known for creating “60 Minutes,” said, “Let’s give the conventions back to the politicians. If we think there’s any news, we can tack it on afterward as commentary. But the conventions should be their show, not ours.”
Let’s give the bidding conventions back to the experts. Let’s concentrate on the card play, winning the necessary number of tricks. Whatever conventions are used, often the same final contract will be reached.
In today’s deal, South is in six no-trump. West leads the spade 10. Declarer wins with dummy’s king, then calls for a low club, getting ready to claim. But when East discards a heart, how should South react?
South opened with a strong and artificial two clubs. North responded three clubs to show five-plus clubs and eight-plus points. Then North’s four-diamond rebid was a modern convention, Redwood — Roman Key Card Blackwood in clubs. South’s reply showed four key cards (three aces and the club king, or four aces). North put his partner into six no-trump, a wise choice given the bad club break.
Declarer has only 11 top winners: three spades, four hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. If he gives West the club king now, South will be forced to find the diamond queen. Instead, he should win with his club ace, then lead the club five. West must duck; otherwise, South claims. Then, after winning the trick with dummy’s queen, declarer plays a spade to his ace and runs the diamond jack through West. Even if the finesse loses, South has three spades, four hearts, three diamonds and two clubs for his contract.