THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
TWO STEPS BACK AND ONE FORWARD
Joan Konner, who inter alia has more than a dozen Emmys from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, said, “Procrastination gives you something to look forward to.”
Procrastination when the dummy comes down is a good idea because it is beneficial to look forward to the 13 tricks. This deal benefits from clear thinking at the beginning. South is in three no-trump. West leads his fourth-highest spade and East puts up the king (denying the queen). What should declarer do?
South’s auction — a takeout double followed by a minimum no-trump bid — showed a good 18 to 20 points. North bid three no-trump because he counted an extra point for his five-card suit and expected his partner to be able to place the missing high cards based on the bidding.
South starts with only four top tricks: one spade, two hearts and one club. He can get two diamond and four club winners, but he will presumably have to lose the lead twice because East needs the club king for his opening bid.
Declarer must let East win the first trick. This sacrifices one spade trick, but gains nine in the long run. South takes the third spade, plays a club to dummy’s ace (the king might drop singleton), and concedes a club. Here, East has no riposte.
If declarer takes trick one, then when East gets in with, say, the club king, he returns the spade six (higher of two remaining cards) and West plays his three to keep communication with his partner. Then the contract fails, the defenders taking three spades, one diamond and one club.