THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
LEARN FIRST AND DECIDE SECOND
Gene Mora writes the “Graffiti” cartoon for United Feature Syndicate. He said something like: If at first you do succeed, try not to look too surprised.
However, at the bridge table, sometimes you should not try to succeed immediately; you should take your time, learning as much as you can about a deal before committing yourself to playing the key suit. Then, if you succeed, you won’t need to look surprised at all.
In this example, West leads a spade against six no-trump. How should South plan the play?
After East opened three spades, South felt that he was too strong to settle for three no-trump. And as a jump to four no-trump would have shown a minor two-suiter and not have been quantitative, he started with a takeout double. When North advanced with four diamonds, South was none the wiser. He knew to assume that his partner had six or seven points, but would they be useful? He was sure his partner would treat four no-trump as Blackwood, so he cue-bid four spades. Now North, with such a great suit, jumped to six diamonds, and South converted to six no-trump. (Note this is a better contract than six diamonds, because in the suit slam declarer would have to play on trumps immediately.)
South should duck the first trick, take the spade continuation (noting that West discards), and cash the heart and club winners. Here, East turns up with seven spades, three clubs and at least two hearts. He can have at most one diamond. So declarer knows to cash his diamond king, then to play a diamond to dummy’s 10.