THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
BRIDGE CAN BE MAGICAL AT TIMES
Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, for an episode of “Northern Exposure,” wrote, “Life is spontaneous and it is unpredictable; it is magical.”
Bridge is rarely spontaneous, because it requires thought. But it can occasionally be unpredictable and magical — as in this deal.
South is in three spades. The contract looks unbeatable. Surely the defenders can take only three clubs and one diamond. Can’t declarer get into the dummy in diamonds, take the spade finesse, and collect seven spades and two diamonds (or one diamond and one heart)?
Well, strange as it may seem, the defenders can defeat the contract — but how?
South had a textbook vulnerable three-spade opening: a good seven-card suit and 6-10 high-card points. After that, no one had sufficient values to argue.
West leads the club king. East overtakes with his ace and returns the club two. This tells West that East started with only two clubs. West wins the second trick with his eight, then cashes the club queen. What should East discard?
East must pitch a diamond. Now West leads a fourth club and East throws another diamond.
South cannot ruff on the board, because then he would be unable to take the spade finesse. So South ruffs in his hand and plays a diamond to try to get into the dummy for the trump finesse. But West wins with his ace and leads another club, on which East jettisons his last diamond.
Declarer trumps and plays a diamond, but East ruffs the trick to defeat the contract.
Isn’t that magical?