THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BRIDGE BOX
George Lucas said, “If the boy and girl walk off into the sunset hand-in-hand in the last scene, it adds 10 million to the box office.”
If bridge partners do everything correctly, they can picture themselves walking off into the sunset, but it probably doesn’t add anything to their bank accounts.
This deal, though, requires a different box: the one that you think outside of. The winning defense requires a play that many would not even consider.
South is in three no-trump. West leads his fourth-highest heart. Assuming that declarer will hold up his ace until the third round, how can East-West defeat the contract?
West leads the heart four and East puts up his jack, bottom of touching honors when playing third hand high. When South ducks, East continues with his heart queen. Declarer plays low again.
At this point, most Wests would follow suit with their three, advertising that they have led from a five-card suit. Then, South would take the third heart and run his diamond nine (or jack). East could win, but West has no entry. Declarer would take one spade, one heart, four diamonds and four clubs for an overtrick. Yes, East could shift to the spade king at trick three, but that would only save the overtrick.
West has to realize that establishing his heart suit is a waste of time, because he does not have an entry. At trick two, he should overtake his partner’s heart queen with his king and shift to the spade 10. Then the defenders will take three spades, two hearts and one diamond for down two.