THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THE DEFENDERS CANNOT REST EITHER
Mark Twain said, “Always do right; this will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
At the bridge table, if you play right, you will gratify your partner, astonish those who do not rate your game highly, and irk the opponents.
Sometimes, of course, you rely on partner’s giving you accurate information, without which you will not do right. In this deal, how should the defenders card to defeat two spades after West leads the diamond ace?
North was tempted to pass out one no-trump. but knew that the percentage action was to retreat into spades; here, via a transfer bid. (One no-trump can be defeated by two tricks.) West was tempted to double two spades for takeout, but that would have been dangerous because North could have had a strong hand, and here would have turned a potential plus into a definite minus.
At first glance, South has only five losers: one spade, two hearts and two diamonds. He can get to dummy with a diamond ruff and the club king to take two spade finesses. But …
Under West’s diamond ace, East should drop his queen, showing the jack as well. Then West ought to shift to the heart king, under which East plays his six, starting a high-low with a doubleton.
South ducks, but now West leads a low diamond to get his partner on play. And East returns his second heart.
Declarer wins with his ace, ruffs his last diamond in the dummy and takes a spade finesse. But West wins the trick, cashes the heart queen, and leads another heart. East overruffs the dummy to defeat the contract.