THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
DOWN IN A PARTIAL WHEN A GAME MAKES
It is bad enough to go down in a partscore contract after the defenders play well. But then to notice that you could have made game in a different strain really rubs salt into the wound.
In this deal, how can East-West defeat two clubs? And which game can be made?
South was a tad cautious when he rebid two clubs, not three clubs. It is true that three would have been a slight overbid, but with such good clubs, it would have been acceptable.
It was normal for North to pass over two clubs. Over three clubs, though, he would have continued with three hearts, and South would have signed off in three no-trump with his spade stopper. Note that as the cards lie, three no-trump is unbeatable. Even if West is psychic and leads a diamond, declarer can win on the board and play on hearts. (And, yes, on another subject, some Wests would risk a takeout double over one club, hoping that if partner advances in diamonds, he has good length there.)
The defense against two clubs is instructive. When West leads his heart ace, East drops the seven, starting a high-low (echo) with his doubleton. West cashes the heart king, then leads the heart eight, his higher remaining heart being a suit-preference signal for spades. East ruffs and shifts to the spade queen.
Let’s assume South covers with his king. West wins with his ace and carefully cashes the spade 10. Now, with every side-suit trick taken, West leads his last heart. When East ruffs with his club jack, it effects an uppercut. South overruffs, but now West collects the sixth defensive trick with his club 10.