THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
MORE THAN ONE WAY TO FIND 13
The first sentence of “1984” by George Orwell is, “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking 13.”
When you bid to a grand slam, there is normally not much point in counting losers, because you cannot afford any. You might as well only try to find 13 winners.
In this deal, which 13 tricks should South hope to take in seven hearts after West leads the diamond three?
The bidding had a modern tinge. South’s four-club rebid was a splinter, showing at least game-forcing values with a singleton or void in clubs. North then control-bid (cue-bid) his diamond ace, which East doubled to ask for a diamond lead. And South optimistically took a shot at all of the marbles.
Outside hearts, South has six winners: four spades, one diamond and one club. He could rely on the diamond finesse and try to take six trump tricks. But East’s double strongly suggests that that finesse will fail. Instead, declarer should play for seven trump tricks. But which seven?
South should use dummy’s winners to remove East’s trumps and take three ruffs in his hand. However, he has to be careful with his communications.
Declarer wins with dummy’s diamond ace, ruffs a club with a high trump (queen, king or ace), returns to dummy with a heart, ruffs another club high, leads a heart to dummy, and ruffs the last low club. Then, after a spade to dummy’s queen, declarer draws trumps and claims. It is a classic dummy reversal.