THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
WITH ONLY TWO, HE IS A DEAD DUCK
Evan Daugherty, a screenwriter, said, “Those are the two best words in English, ‘bidding’ and ‘war’.”
Well, he got it half right. During the bridge war, the bidding usually provides useful information for one side or the other — as in this deal. West leads the heart queen against four spades. How should South plan the play?
After West opened one no-trump, East was right to run, using a transfer. East’s hand rated to be worthless in one no-trump, but would provide two or three trump tricks in two hearts. South intervened with two spades. West raised to three hearts with four-card support. North was tempted to bid four spades, but he had no singleton, and knew that the usual approach after an opponent opens with a strong no-trump is to get into the auction, find a fit and get out of the auction. It is rare that a game is makable. So North settled for three spades. However, South, liking his hand, gave himself game.
Always check the high-card points, especially when an opponent opened. Here, only 16 are missing, so West is marked with all of the key honors, making him a candidate for an endplay.
South wins with his heart ace, cashes the spade ace (delighted to see East follow suit), takes the heart king, cashes dummy’s top clubs, and ruffs the club six in his hand. Then he leads a trump.
West wins, but has no riposte. Either he opens up diamonds, giving declarer a trick with his king, or he leads a heart, allowing South to sluff one of dummy’s diamonds and ruff in his hand.