THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
AN OLD THEME MISSED BY MANY
Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth”
But one does hope that repetition transforms a truth that is sometimes overlooked into a truth that is remembered. As an example, how do the defenders defeat four hearts in this deal after West leads the spade ace?
The bidding is instructive. Over West’s textbook takeout double, North’s redouble indicates at least 10 high-card points and fewer than four-card heart support. (Note that in the United States, a two-diamond response is typically treated as natural and nonforcing, showing a long suit in a weak hand. With a good hand that isn’t suitable for a forcing one-level response, responder must start with redouble.) After this redouble, the simplest rule is that either the opening pair buys the contract or the intervening side plays in something doubled for penalty.
Under West’s spade ace, East drops his three, the lowest card denying both the spade queen and a doubleton. West continues with the spade queen. Now East should play his eight, starting a high-low with his remaining doubleton. Then West cashes the spade king. But what should he do at trick four?
West has 14 high-card points and dummy has 13. That leaves 13 for East and South. The declarer must have the diamond ace, club ace and club king. It is highly unlikely that the defenders can gain a minor-suit trick. And if so, the fourth defensive trick will have to come from trumps.
West should lead his last spade. This promotes East’s heart jack to the setting trick.