THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
NEUTRALIZE THE THREAT OF HIS LONG SUIT
Charles Baudouin said, “No matter how hard you work for success, if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavors and make success impossible.”
That can apply at the bridge table. In today’s deal, though, South has to try to neutralize the threat of East’s heart suit. South is in three no-trump and West leads the heart six. What should declarer do?
South starts with seven top tricks: one spade, one heart (given the lead), four diamonds and one club. At least two more tricks are available from the club suit. But is there any danger?
If, at trick one, declarer plays low from the dummy and wins East’s nine with his king, then, when he takes the losing club finesse, West will lead his second heart and the defenders will win one club and four hearts.
The result will be the same if South plays dummy’s heart 10 and takes East’s jack with his king.
Instead, declarer should call for dummy’s queen. East has to take the trick with his ace; otherwise, South gets two heart tricks. But what does East do now?
If he leads another heart, he gives declarer two tricks in the suit. So he shifts to the spade king. South could win that trick, but does better to duck it. Whatever happens after that, declarer takes at least one spade, one heart, four diamonds and three clubs (and can squeeze East in the majors for an overtrick).
Finally, the curious may work out how East-West can defeat three no-trump if declarer allows East to win trick one with his heart nine.