THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
ALLOW THEM TO HELP YOU OUT
Ronaldinho, a Brazilian soccer star, said, “The hardest opponents for me are the defenders who are tough in the way they play — where you can’t see a way through.”
Declarer at the bridge table is trying to see a way through the best that the opponents can do to try to stop him from making his contract. However, occasionally he can call on his opponents for help.
In this deal, South is in four hearts. West leads the diamond three. East wins with his king, cashes the diamond ace and shifts to a low club. How should declarer continue?
After South opened one no-trump, North used a four-level Texas transfer to get his partner to play in four hearts. This allowed the opening lead to come around to the strong hand, rather than through it.
Probably South’s first thought is to take the finesses in each black suit. But there is a safer plan. What did West lead from in diamonds?
It was surely from queen-third or queen-fourth. If so, when declarer ruffs a diamond on the board, he either establishes his diamond jack as a trick or sets up an endplay.
South, after winning the third trick with his club ace, should ruff a diamond high on the board and draw trumps ending in his hand. Then he leads the diamond jack. Yes, West covers with his queen, but declarer calmly discards a black-suit card from the dummy.
If West returns a spade, South takes two spades, six hearts and two clubs. If West leads back a club, declarer wins one spade, six hearts and three clubs. South’s opponent comes to his rescue.