THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
IT IS EASY TO BE DISTRACTED
Randy K. Milholland, the creator of several webcomics, said, “Typos are very important to all written form. It gives the reader something to look for so he isn’t distracted by the total lack of content in your writing.”
How depressing! But last year I bought a cartoon anthology and was surprised to find two typos. Even if they snuck into the newspapers, why didn’t the cartoonist correct them before including them in his book?
At the bridge table, it is easy to be distracted on defense when one knows that partner has made a mistake. One petulantly plays the card nearest one’s thumb instead of asking oneself if the contract is still beatable.
In this deal, South was in four spades. West led the club queen and East won with his ace, dropping South’s king. What happened next?
At trick two, East shifted to his singleton heart jack. Yes, West should have overtaken with his queen, cashed the heart ace, and given his partner a heart ruff to defeat the contract. But thinking that East would have a second heart, West signaled with his 10.
Ticked off, East now led a trump. Gratefully, South drew trumps and discarded his last three hearts on dummy’s diamonds, which fell into his lap after one finesse.
East immediately berated West. But East should have paused to ask himself if there was anything he could have done. Then he would have noticed that leading a diamond at trick three would have defeated the contract, cutting declarer off from the dummy before he has drawn trumps.
Keep your eye on the cards.