THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
IF YOU NEED ONE, RETAIN ONLY ONE
H.L. Mencken said, “An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.”
Or maybe that is someone who jumps too quickly to conclusions, which is also not a good idea at the bridge table. In today’s deal, South is in seven spades. West leads the heart queen. How should declarer deliberate?
North’s raise to three spades promised some points. South’s plunge into seven spades was optimistic because he knew that he could not reach the dummy unless it contained the heart queen or a heart shortage. It would have been wiser to stop in six — except that that would have ruined the column!
Someone who is impulsive will win with his heart ace, cash the diamond ace and heart king, then ruff a heart on the board. But East would overruff to defeat the contract.
Yes, South needs to ruff a heart and discard his second low heart on the diamond king, but he needs only one trump for one ruff. So, he should start by drawing two rounds of trumps. Then he unblocks the diamond ace, cashes the second top heart, and ruffs a heart in the dummy. Here, his care is rewarded when East has doubletons in both majors.
South pitches his last heart on a high diamond, ruffs a diamond back to his hand, draws West’s last trump, and claims.
A broad smile is permitted from North!