THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THIRD HAND GIVES PARTNER THE COUNT
Bill Watterson, the author of the comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” from 1985 to 1995, said, “Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.”
Bridge players often compete only on weekends, when counting points and suit lengths will be very important.
This deal occurred during a social game. What should happen in two no-trump after West leads his fourth-highest club and East puts up his king? Do you agree with North’s pass over two no-trump?
Taking those questions in reverse order, North should have used Stayman, then raised three spades to four spades. That contract could have been made, but it would have been a tad lucky. Still, South could have had a more suitable hand. And at the worst, South would have ended in three no-trump when he did not have a four-card major. Maybe it would have made.
In two no-trump, South took East’s club king with his ace and exited with a low spade. East won with the 10 and returned the club seven, high from a remaining doubleton. West took South’s nine with his 10 and erred badly by cashing the club queen. (The club jack could not be dropping, because if East had started with K-7-3-2 of clubs, he would have led back the club two, not the seven.)
South took the next club with his jack and played a second spade. East won and shifted to a heart. South won and led his spade queen. East took the trick and played another heart, but South won, unblocked his diamond winners, crossed to dummy with a spade, and cashed the diamond king for his eighth trick.