THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
DO NOT RUSH TO RASH ASSUMPTIONS
Scott Adams, the creator of the “Dilbert” cartoon, said, “Never base your budget requests on realistic assumptions, as this could lead to a decrease in your funding.”
At the bridge table, never base your plays on unrealistic assumptions, as this could lead to a decrease in your trick total.
In today’s deal, it is not so much a case of an unrealistic assumption as being careful not to jump to a conclusion that could be inaccurate. South is in four spades. West leads the heart nine. How should East plan the defense?
The auction was straightforward. South smelled a game, so bid that game.
The defense looks so easy. East wins with the heart ace (the unnecessarily high card beginning a suit-preference signal for diamonds), cashes the heart king, and continues with the heart 10 (a second suit-preference signal). West ruffs higher than the dummy and shifts to a diamond. East wins with his ace and leads another heart, perhaps promoting a second trump trick for West.
Well, that is the plan, but West cannot ruff higher than the dummy. South wins the third trick, draws trumps, and runs the clubs for an overtrick.
East should take a safety-play. At trick three, he should cash the diamond ace. Here, West encourages with his 10, and East leads a second diamond to defeat the contract. But if West has a spade higher than dummy’s seven, he would discourage, and East would go back to hearts.
Try to maximize your chances of success.