FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

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Bridge

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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, AUGUST 1, 2014
THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
WHEN THINGS GO WELL, DO NOT STOP THINKING

Edith Sitwell, an English poet who died in 1964, said, “I have often wished I had time to cultivate modesty. But I am too busy thinking about myself.”
A friend of mine said that all top bridge players have egos the size of planets. But they do not stop thinking. Even when things seem to be going well, they do not drop their guard.
This deal is a good example. South is in four hearts. West leads the spade ace. What should happen after that?
South’s two-club rebid was New Minor Forcing. It announced at least game-invitational strength and asked North to describe his hand further. When North showed three-card heart support, South went for game in that suit. Yes, three no-trump would have been easy to make, with nine top tricks, but bidding isn’t always perfect.
Since East does not want West to shift, he should encourage spades enthusiastically by dropping his nine. West should then cash the spade king and lead a third round of the suit.
Let’s suppose East thoughtlessly switches to a club. South, who must play the trump suit without loss, should hope that East has the king and jack. Declarer takes the fourth trick with dummy’s club queen, plays a heart to his 10, crosses back to dummy with a diamond, leads a heart to his queen, cashes the heart ace and claims.
However, an East who is thinking will realize that, based on the point-count, West is unlikely to have a high club. Instead, East will lead his last spade, which promotes a trump trick for the defense.

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