THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THE COUNT TELLS EAST HOW MANY
Albert Einstein said, “Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.”
At the bridge table, you hope that everything you need to count accurately can be. In today’s deal, it is East who needs to count, aided and abetted by West.
South is in four hearts. West leads his fourth-highest club. How should East plan the defense?
South had a minimum two-heart response. He planned to rebid three hearts to invite game, but when North supported hearts, this increased the value of South’s hand, so he bid game.
Why did West lead a club instead of a diamond? Because it was his stronger suit — and because I peeked at the full deal and saw that a diamond lead would kill the defense!
East should realize that almost certainly his side has to take either three clubs and one diamond or two clubs and two diamonds — but which?
First, East must find out whether South started with two clubs or three. East wins the first trick with his club king and cashes the club ace. Here, West follows with his two, showing that he began with five clubs. Now East must try for two diamond tricks — how?
If West has the diamond king, it does not matter; but in case South has the king and West the queen, East must shift to a low diamond. Now the only question is: Will South guess correctly?
Note that if West had started with only four clubs, his second card would have been higher than the three. Then East would have cashed the diamond ace before leading a third club.