THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
BE REALISTIC, NOT IMPRACTICAL
Scott Adams, a cartoonist and writer, said, “Never base your budget requests on realistic assumptions, as this could lead to a decrease in your funding.”
Never base your declarer play or defense on unrealistic assumptions, as this could lead to a decrease in your trick-taking.
In this deal, for example, how should South play in three no-trump after West leads a fourth-highest spade five?
South is not wildly enthusiastic about opening one no-trump with two weak suits, but he has no realistic choice. If he opens one diamond and North responds one spade, what would South do then? Yes, here North would make a limit raise in diamonds. Then South could rebid three hearts to show his stopper in that suit, North would bid three spades, and South would sign off in three no-trump. That sequence, though, gives the defenders much more information.
South starts with seven top tricks: one spade, four hearts, one diamond and one club. Given the spade lead, declarer does not have time to play on diamonds. Realistically, he would surely lose at least four spades and one diamond. Instead, he must hope that the club finesse is working. And there isn’t a moment to lose. After winning the first or second trick with dummy’s spade ace, South must take a club finesse. When it wins, he returns to the dummy with a diamond, takes a second club finesse and claims.
Finally, note that five diamonds is worse than three no-trump, because it relies on a good diamond position and the club finesse.