THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
SEND A COUNT SIGNAL WITH A SINGLE CARD
Gottfried Leibniz, a German mathematician and philosopher who died in 1716, said, “Music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting.”
If you would like to count more at the bridge table, first constantly count away from it. During the day, count anything and everything: the steps you take, the white vehicles on the road, the pedestrians, the cars of a railroad train, whatever.
This week we have been looking at counting. The most common defensive count signal is an echo, a high-low, to show a doubleton. Often the signaler is hoping to gain a ruff. But occasionally, high-low will indicate “remaining count” — the number of cards still held by that defender.
This deal is a textbook example. How should the defenders card to defeat three no-trump after West leads his fourth-highest club?
North’s two-heart response was a transfer bid, showing five or more spades and at least zero points. Then his three-no-trump rebid offered South a choice of games.
West leads the club six. East wins with his ace and returns the nine, high from a remaining doubleton. When South plays his queen (or jack), West should be aware that if East had started with the A-J-9-2 (or A-Q-9-2) of clubs, he would have led back the two, not the nine. So, to keep communication with his partner, West drops the club five at trick two.
Now South is sunk. He would probably run his diamonds before taking the spade finesse, but East would win with his king and lead his last club to kill the contract.