THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
A CRAZY DEAL FOR TRUMP CONTROL
A.J. Kitt, who used to be a top downhill skier, said, “You have no control over what the other guy does. You only have control over what you do.”
That is usually true at the bridge table, but sometimes you can control your opponent by leaving him with no winning option — as in this deal.
South is in seven spades. West leads the club ace. South ruffs and cashes the spade ace, expecting to claim one nanosecond later. But when East discards a club, suddenly West seems to have a certain trump trick. Is there any chance?
North’s rebid was a double negative, showing a very bad hand, either the traditional two no-trump or the modern three clubs, according to partnership preference. Then South, confident that North could not have an ace, jumped to seven hearts to offer a choice of grand slams. North gave preference to spades, never having expected to make three bids in the auction.
The only way to bring home the contract is to lead side-suit winners through West. When he ruffs one, dummy overruffs, and declarer draws trumps, then having the same number of spades (three) as West.
However, West will only ruff if he has no alternative. He will discard as often as possible. Here, if South immediately runs his hearts, West will pitch his diamond and later ruff the diamond ace.
As declarer can throw only four of dummy’s five diamonds on the hearts, he must cash one diamond trick first. Then he plays his hearts. Eventually, West will concede.