THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
LOOK FOR A SAFE WAY TO GET HOME
Simone de Beauvoir, a French writer, said, “I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth — and truth rewarded me.”
At the bridge table, the truth is that we love certainties — lines of play or defense that are guaranteed to work. In this deal, is there a way for South to make sure of six no-trump, given that clubs are not breaking 5-0?
South’s two-diamond rebid was fourth-suit game-forcing. When North bid four hearts, he showed a minimum opening bid. With extras he would have control-bid (cue-bid) four clubs. South signed off in six no-trump to protect his diamond holding, expecting North’s values to be in his long suits.
Declarer starts with 10 top tricks: two spades, five hearts, one diamond and two clubs. His plan should be to win four club tricks — but how?
The club nine in South’s hand makes getting four tricks a near-certainty. After winning the first trick with his spade ace, declarer should play a club to dummy’s ace, then return a low club and cover East’s eight with his nine.
Here, that ends South’s problems. But if his nine were to lose to the 10, the suit would be splitting 3-2 and the contract would be home. Finally, if East shows out on the second round of clubs, declarer wins with his king and leads back through West’s queen up to North’s jack.
Note that six hearts can be made by taking the same safety-play.