THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
BE HAPPY TO GIVE THEM THEIR DUE
Hesiod, an early Greek poet, said, “Observe due measure, for right timing is in all things the most important factor.”
That applies to many bridge contracts, either to make or to break them. This deal gives both sides a chance for good timing once North-South push into four hearts.
West leads the spade two. How can East defeat the contract? How can South get home if East wins the first trick and tries to cash a second spade winner?
The bidding was difficult. When one spade came around, North thought about making a takeout double, but was rightly nervous about having only two hearts. After North balanced with two clubs, South might have passed, but advanced with two hearts, knowing that his partner would remember that he had not immediately made a two-heart overcall. North cue-bid two spades to show a strong hand and ask his partner to bid no-trump with a spade stopper. (Five clubs can be defeated after a trump lead.)
East beats four hearts if he shifts to the diamond queen at trick two. This gives the defenders the tempo to collect one spade, two hearts and one diamond. But that is not clear-cut.
If East tries to cash a second spade trick, South should ruff and be willing to give the defenders one spade and two hearts. He should ignore the trump finesse and cash his top hearts. Then he turns to the clubs and gets his diamond losers away in time.