THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
AT FIRST, UNLUCKY; AT SECOND, LUCKY
Don Marquis, a humorist and journalist, wrote, “Now and then there is a person born who is so unlucky that he runs into accidents which started out to happen to somebody else.”
That, of course, does not apply at the bridge table. Usually only one side can be unlucky. However, sometimes when a deal starts out in an unlucky way, the contract might still be makable if declarer can get lucky in another suit — as in this deal.
South bounces himself into six spades. After West leads the diamond queen, what should declarer do?
North made a game-invitational limit raise, guaranteeing at least four spades, 10-12 support points (high-card points plus short-suit points) and eight losers. (You look at only the first three cards of each suit when counting losers.) Yes, with those potentially useless heart honors and no aces, that North hand is borderline, but it is clearly too strong for only a single raise.
South starts with potential losers in both black suits. So, after winning the first trick with his diamond ace (the honor from the shorter side first), he cashes his spade ace, but unluckily the king does not drop. Is there any chance now?
Yes, there is one faint hope: that the defender with the spade king has at most two clubs.
Declarer should cash his two club and two heart winners, play a diamond to dummy’s king, ruff the last diamond in his hand, and exit with a trump.
His luck is in. West must now concede a ruff-and-sluff. South ruffs on the board and sluffs his last club.