THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
WHEN MAKING IS WHAT COUNTS
How many holes in one were there on the PGA tour last season?
Do you like overtricks?
The answer depends upon circumstances. If you are playing in a pair event or a board-a-match teams, you usually try to gather as many overtricks as possible. But in other forms of the game, you should concentrate on making your contract. True, if you can go after an overtrick without any risk, do so. However, trying for 20 or 30 more points and losing a 300-point or 500-point game bonus does not make sense.
In this deal, how should South play safely in three no-trump after West leads his fourth-highest spade?
South starts with eight top tricks: three spades, three diamonds and two clubs. The extra trick is bound to come from clubs. And if that finesse is working, there will be at least one overtrick in South’s future.
A careless declarer would look no further. He would take the first trick on the board with the spade queen and run the club jack (or play a club to his ace, return to the board in spades or diamonds, then take the finesse). Here, though, that ought to cost the contract. West should shift to the heart queen, and the defenders can take one club and four hearts.
With East on lead, dummy’s heart king is safe from attack. So South should cash his two top clubs. Here the queen drops and South gets that overtrick. But if East started with queen-third or -fourth, the contract would be safe.
There were 30 holes in one on the PGA tour last year.