THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THE COMBINATIONS COME THICK AND FAST
Peter De Vries, a novelist and an editor who died in 1993, said, “The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.”
I wonder if we will ever find that safe combination?
This week, we have been looking at various suit combinations. Here is another deceptive one. How should South play in six spades after West leads the diamond queen?
North’s initial two-no-trump response was the Jacoby Forcing Raise. South’s jump to game showed a minimum opening with no singleton or void. North then launched Roman Key Card Blackwood, which was good for this deal. After South bid five diamonds, indicating zero or three key cards (the four aces and the trump king count as key cards), North relayed with five hearts to ask about the spade queen. When South denied holding that card, North knew not to bid a grand slam. (And, yes, North might have signed off in six no-trump.)
Since the side suits are solid, declarer’s only problem is to avoid two trump losers. South should start with a low trump from the board (not the ace), planning to rise with his king or to finesse his jack. When East shows out, declarer can still do either. If he wins with his king, he then leads low toward the board, covering West’s card as cheaply as possible. If South plays his jack, West wins with his queen and probably leads another diamond. But declarer wins on the board, plays a spade to his king, returns a spade to dummy’s nine, cashes the ace, and claims.