THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
DECLARER CAN COUNT FOR SUCCESS ALSO
Sydney J. Harris, a journalist in Chicago who died in 1986, said, “An idealist believes the short run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.”
At bridge, the short run — one deal — may determine the long run — your success in the event. And in that one-deal short run, counting will probably be required.
In this deal, South is in four hearts. West leads the spade nine. East takes three tricks in the suit (West discarding the club three) and continues with his fourth spade. What should South do?
Note South’s three-club rebid. He was right not to jump to four hearts, because North might have raised to two hearts with only three cards in the suit, especially when he had a singleton spade. A typical hand pattern would have been 1-3-5-4. Then maybe five or even six clubs might have been better than four hearts. North, though, knowing of the eight-card fit, happily jumped to four hearts.
South has four minor-suit winners (three diamonds and one club), so needs six trump tricks. Since he has four winners on the board, he should aim on taking two ruffs in his hand.
He starts by ruffing the fourth spade high, to stop West from overruffing. Let’s assume West throws another club, keeping equal diamond length with the board.
Now declarer plays a trump to dummy’s nine, returns a diamond to his king, leads a diamond to dummy’s queen, ruffs a diamond high, draws trumps and claims.