THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
IF HE HAS TOO MANY, TRY FOR AN ENDPLAY
Judith Viorst, a novelist and poet, said, “Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands — and then to eat just one of the pieces.”
Strength at the bridge table is the capacity to stop an opponent with four good trumps from winning more than one trick with them. However, doing that may require imagination.
In today’s deal, South is in six hearts. West leads the spade queen. South takes the trick with his ace and cashes the heart ace. East’s spade discard is a bad blow. How can South recover?
It is unusual to bid a slam after a single raise, but the South hand has few losers. His three-club rebid was a help-suit game-try. And when North jumped to four hearts to say that he had club assistance, it was a fair gamble for South to bid the slam.
There seem to be two unavoidable trump losers. However, if South can get his trump length reduced, he might be able to endplay West. This requires finding the West hand with exactly 3-4-4-2 distribution.
Declarer plays a diamond to dummy’s ace, ruffs a diamond in his hand, cashes the spade king, ruffs his last spade on the board, trumps another diamond, cashes the club ace, leads a club to dummy’s king, and ruffs the last diamond.
Everyone is down to three cards. South retains the king-jack of hearts and a low club. West has three trumps. So, when declarer leads his last club, West is forced to ruff and play away from his heart queen. Six hearts bid and made!