THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
TRUST YOUR PARTNER TO STEER YOU RIGHT
Joyce Cary, an English novelist who died in 1957, said, “The will is never free — it is always attached to an object, a purpose. It is simply the engine in the car — it can’t steer.”
At the bridge table, surprisingly often one defender can steer his partner in the right direction. The problem is that some defenders prefer to backseat drive, ignoring their partners’ signals and heading down their own side roads — and letting defeatable contracts make.
In this example deal, how should the defenders play to beat four hearts?
After East opened one diamond, that South hand was strong enough for a takeout double followed by a heart bid. But South reasonably decided that his short spades made an initial double dangerous. (Yes, it was unlikely to backfire, but one heart would be the majority expert choice these days.) Then, when North raised hearts, South had an easy jump to game.
First, West must lead the diamond four, his partner’s bid suit. East wins with his queen and cashes the diamond ace. West discards the club two, denying interest in that suit. East takes the diamond king, West pitching the spade three to say that he does not have the spade ace.
What should East do now?
If West does not want a black-suit shift, there is only one play left — lead another diamond. And as you can see, this is the only way to defeat the contract because it promotes West’s heart queen as a trick.
Trust your partner’s signals — if he is trustworthy!