THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder

Timothy Zahn, a science fiction writer, said, “For a change, Lady Luck seemed to be smiling on me. Then again, maybe the fickle wench was just lulling me into a false sense of security while she reached for a rock.”
Some bridge players are superstitious, thinking Lady Luck controls the outcome of deals. But good players know that normally she has no influence over the final result. Occasionally, though, everything looks like smooth sailing, when suddenly a nasty storm blows up.
What should happen in today’s deal? South is in three no-trump, and West leads his fourth-highest spade.
In the auction, I like North’s jump to three no-trump. If South has a club honor, the chance of five or six club tricks is high. Along with the spade ace and South’s known values, surely three no-trump will roll home. It is just Lady Luck’s perversity that South has only two low clubs.
East wins the first trick with his spade king, then should return his remaining spade. Yes, here, a red-suit shift would work even better, but East should try to get the spade ace off the board.
South will win with his spade queen and run the club eight. Now comes the key play — East must not take the trick. If East wins, declarer captures the next trick and drives out the club ace, while dummy still has the spade ace as an entry. But if East calmly allows South’s club eight to win, East will take the second club and shift to, probably, the diamond jack. Now dummy’s club suit is useless and the contract goes down one or two.
Afterward, no doubt South will complain that he was unlucky.

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