THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
TEMPTATION NEEDS TO BE RESISTED
Oscar Wilde said, “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.”
However, yielding can be fatal at the bridge table. It is true that some temptations that ought to be avoided do not prove to be lethal, because the cards forgive — unlike in today’s deal.
Many players would go down in four hearts and, with some justification, complain about their bad luck. But if the only job is to make the contract and not to worry about overtricks, there is a line of play that guarantees success — why ignore it?
South is in four hearts. West leads the club queen and East signals with the six. What should declarer do?
South’s jump to game might look aggressive with only nine high-card points and a void in his partner’s first-bid suit, but his hand has great distribution and he will not know how good or bad game is until after he sees the dummy. In these situations, it is right to blaze into game, the contract that pays the big bonus when it makes.
After taking the first trick, many declarers would lead a trump. Here, East would win and cash his other two trump winners. Later, South would lose a club to go down one.
Yes, 3-0 offside is only an 11 percent chance, but why risk it? Instead, declarer should be happy to concede three trump tricks. At trick two, he should lead his other high club and ruff a club on the board. East may overruff and cash his other two trump tricks, but there is still one heart left on the board with which to ruff South’s last club loser.