THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
DO NOT WIN A TRICK TWO TIMES OVER
Willie Tyler, a ventriloquist, comedian and actor, said, “The reason lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place is that the same place isn’t there the second time.”
How does this segue into a bridge deal? With difficulty! South is in four hearts. West leads the diamond ace. What ought to happen after that?
North responded with the Jacoby Forcing Raise, showing four or more hearts, game-forcing values and, usually, no singleton or void (because with a short suit, North would have made a splinter bid). South rebid four hearts to indicate a minimum opening bid with no singleton or void.
At 999 tables out of 1,000, East would signal with his diamond nine under partner’s ace, starting a high-low with a doubleton. West would then cash the diamond king and give his partner a diamond ruff. Whatever East does next, though, South wins, draws trumps and claims 10 tricks: one spade, five hearts and four clubs.
However, East should realize that he does not need a ruff to gain a trump trick. So he should not advertise his doubleton. Instead, he should play his diamond four at trick one.
Then the spotlight falls on West. If East has just played a singleton, it would probably be right to continue diamonds. But if South has four diamonds, he would have exactly 2-5-4-2 distribution, which is unlikely. Instead, West should think about shifting. And given the dummy, a spade looks better than a club.
Note that this is the only way to defeat the contract, the defenders then taking one spade, one heart and two diamonds.