THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
EASY IN NO-TRUMP, HARDER IN A SUIT
Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics Inc., said, “We must have a theme, a goal, a purpose in our lives. If you don’t know where you’re aiming, you don’t have a goal.”
Bridge contracts have a goal for both sides. If you don’t know where you are aiming, your side is in trouble. And most deals have a theme. Today’s is common in no-trump, but much less so in a suit contract. That makes it harder to spot.
West leads the spade nine against four hearts. How should South continue after winning the first trick with dummy’s ace?
South’s two-heart rebid showed at least a six-card suit and 6-9 high-card points. North, knowing of an eight-card fit and having a promising number of winners, took a shot at game.
South has four losers in his hand: one heart (if trumps are 4-1, the contract is surely failing) and three diamonds. However, he has 11 winners: one spade, five hearts and five clubs. His goal is to get to 10 tricks before the opponents can reach four — but how?
Suppose declarer immediately draws two rounds of trumps, then plays on clubs. East trumps the third club and shifts to the diamond king. The defenders take three tricks in that suit for down one.
Instead, South should play a low trump from both hands at trick two. If the defenders then play three rounds of diamonds, the last can be ruffed on the board. If they take two diamonds ending with West and he leads another spade, declarer ruffs, draws trumps, and runs dummy’s clubs.