THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
HOW MANY WINNERS DO YOU NEED?
Benjamin Franklin Fairless, a steel company executive who died on the first day of 1962, said, “What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind, there are just four essential ingredients: Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team.”
What is the recipe for success in this four-spade contract? West cashes his two top hearts, then shifts to the club king.
The bidding was instructive. North’s redouble indicated at least 10 high-card points. Then, when he raised spades on the next round, he showed exactly three-card support. (With four spades or more, he would have responded two no-trump.)
East’s two-heart advance did not promise any values. By the logic of the auction, he was known to be weak. He was just saying that he had a definite preference for hearts over diamonds and clubs. West raised hearts with four-card support and a full-weight takeout double.
South’s four-spade bid was ambitious, but the vulnerable game bonus was a powerful lure.
Declarer has six black-suit winners. Ergo, the essential ingredient for success is taking four diamond tricks, which might require three finesses. And if so, speed is of the essence. At trick four, South must play a diamond to dummy’s 10. Then, he cashes the spade queen, leads a spade to his 10, repeats the diamond finesse, returns to the spade king, takes a third diamond finesse, and claims.
Before playing from the dummy at trick one, count losers and winners.