THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
PLAY ONE SUIT TO HELP ANOTHER
Dr. Stuart Brown and Christopher Vaughan said, “The genius of play is that, in playing, we create imaginative new cognitive combinations. And in creating those novel combinations, we find what works.”
Early in our bridge careers, we meet novel suit combinations and try to work out what to do. Then we hope to remember them for the future. Sometimes, though, we cannot take a suit combination in isolation; we must be influenced by the full deal.
In this example, how should South play the diamond suit for four tricks in isolation, and how within the context of trying to make three no-trump?
South starts with seven top tricks: two spades, one heart, three diamonds and one club. Assuming he can get a fourth diamond winner, he needs one more trick from somewhere. Even if the hearts are 3-3, perhaps there won’t be time to establish the extra trick. The defenders might first take two hearts and three spades. Instead, declarer should go for two club tricks by taking a pair of finesses through East. However, that requires reaching dummy twice, which can happen only in diamonds.
Taking diamonds in isolation, South would cash his king, then cross to dummy’s ace, in case East has jack-fourth. But not here; declarer needs diamonds 3-2.
He cashes his king and queen, overtakes his 10 with dummy’s ace, and plays a club to his jack. It loses, but he wins the next spade, leads his diamond four to dummy’s eight, takes a second club finesse, and claims nine tricks.