THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
USE THE BIDDING TO AID THE PLAY
H.E. Martz said, “He who builds a better mousetrap these days runs into material shortages, patent-infringement suits, work stoppages, collusive bidding, discount discrimination — and taxes.”
At the bridge table, when your contract appears hopeless, be a man, not a mouse, and see if you can trap an opponent into helping you. South blazes into six hearts despite West’s one-spade overcall. West leads the spade king. After winning with his ace, how should declarer continue?
After North made a limit raise, South bid what he hoped he could make. (Yes, a tournament player would have treated North’s three hearts as pre-emptive; he would have cue-bid two spades to show heart support and at least game-invitational values.)
At first glance, South has two unavoidable spade losers. He also has only 11 top tricks: one spade, six hearts, one diamond and three clubs. Yes, the bidding tells declarer that East started with a singleton spade, but how does that help?
Declarer cashes his diamond ace and heart queen. When the trumps are 2-1, South plays a trump to the dummy, ruffs the last diamond, unblocks his two club honors, returns to dummy with a trump, and discards a spade on the club queen. Then comes the taxing play: Declarer leads dummy’s last club, and when East follows suit, South does not ruff; instead, he discards another spade.
East is trapped. He has only diamonds left, and on this trick, declarer sluffs his last spade and ruffs on the board.