THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THE LENGTH OUTWEIGHS THE WEAKNESS
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a Roman philosopher, statesman and dramatist, said, “Life’s like a play: it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.”
A bridge deal is often not like a play, because it is the length (of a suit) that matters.
In this example, how should South plan the play in four hearts after West leads the club queen?
South, with two aces and 11 points, was right to open one heart, not two hearts. North’s jump to four hearts was aggressive. A game-invitational three hearts would have been normal. But South would surely have passed and ruined the play … er, column.
South starts with four losers: one spade, one diamond and two clubs. He has nine winners: six hearts, two diamonds and one club. His only realistic chance is to establish dummy’s spade suit. For that, he needs to find the spades splitting 4-3 and to have four dummy entries: three for spade ruffs in his hand and one to get back to the dummy (after drawing trumps) to cash the 13th spade.
South must act immediately, winning the first trick with his club ace and leading his spade.
Let’s assume East takes the trick, cashes his club king, and plays his last club. West wins and shifts to a diamond.
Declarer wins in the dummy, ruffs a spade, plays a low heart to dummy’s 10, ruffs a spade high, leads another trump to dummy’s king, ruffs a third spade, and cashes the heart ace. When everything passes off perfectly, South leads a diamond to dummy and cashes the remaining spade, discarding his last diamond. Excellent!