FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

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THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
KEEP IT SIMPLE, SENSIBLE DECLARER

Sam Levenson, a humorist and author who died in 1980, said, “It’s so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say, then say the opposite.”
That seems to recommend an unnecessary step. Why not just think of something wise?
Let’s try to find the simple line to make six hearts in today’s deal after West leads the spade queen to South’s ace. What should declarer do?
Note North’s two-heart rebid. This is preferable to one no-trump with no spade stopper. Those three strong hearts will usually be as good as four low. Then South immediately wonders about a slam, but is nervous about two immediate club losers. He rebids two spades, knowing his partner will treat this as a game-try. And when North continues with two no-trump, guaranteeing at least one club stopper, South jumps to what he hopes he can make.
Declarer has two losers, one in each black suit. He might play to establish dummy’s diamond suit, but that would fail here. The much simpler line is to gain an extra trick by ruffing a loser in the shorter trump hand.
At trick two, South leads a club. Let’s suppose East takes dummy’s queen with his ace and returns his second spade. Declarer wins with his king, plays a club to dummy’s king, takes the heart ace, leads the heart seven to his queen, and cashes the club jack, discarding dummy’s remaining spade. Then South ruffs his last spade with dummy’s heart king, returns to his hand with a diamond, draws trumps, and claims 12 tricks: two spades, five hearts, two diamonds, two clubs and that spade ruff.

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