THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
DUMMY: NO POINTS, BUT USEFUL CARDS
George Bernard Shaw said, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
At the bridge table, we make a lot of mistakes. But with luck, as we gain experience, we make fewer of them. This week, we have been handling the trump suit. Here is one last example — let’s get it right!
West leads the diamond king against six spades. How should declarer plan the play?
The South hand is very honorable, with, in Chicago and rubber-bridge scoring, 150 in aces and 150 in spades. It also has 11 winners. Can partner produce an extra trick or two?
In this auction, South’s jump to three spades showed a solid suit, set that suit as trumps, and asked partner if he had anything. North’s raise to four spades denied an ace or a king. South’s leap to six spades was understandable, although risky with those two losing diamonds.
South must discard one diamond from the dummy on his third top heart and ruff his last diamond in the dummy. He wins with his diamond ace, cashes the three top hearts, and exits with a diamond. He takes the next trick and ruffs his last diamond with dummy’s spade eight, so there’s no risk of an overruff. Then he draws trumps and claims.
Finally, note that this is one deal in which the very bad trump split was lucky. If West had been able to lead a trump, and the defender who took the diamond trick could have led another trump, the slam would have failed.