THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
WATCH YOUR ENTRIES FOR TRUMP HANDLING
Sue Gardner, a Canadian journalist and former executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said, “It’s a funny habit to write encyclopedia entries. It’s not a mass taste.”
When Encyclopedia Britannica was still publishing its annual Yearbook, I wrote the bridge entry and did not consider it a funny habit — but each to her or his own taste.
We could fill a chunk of an encyclopedia with deals in which players did not watch their entries carefully enough. In this layout, South is in four hearts. West leads the diamond ace. When East signals enthusiastically with his nine, West continues with the diamond king and another diamond. East wins the third trick with his queen and shifts to a spade. How should South continue?
When South jumped to four hearts, he wondered if four spades might have been better, but had no sensible way to investigate.
South must play his trump suit without loss. We all know the “eight ever” ditty that advises finessing as the percentage action. But should declarer cash a high heart first?
If the suit is 3-2, South will get home if East has the queen and fail when West has her majesty. But if East started with four hearts, he is four times more likely to have the queen than West. (There are four low singletons that West can hold and there is only one singleton queen.) So declarer should take two heart finesses, which requires two dummy entries.
South must overtake his spade jack with dummy’s queen and play a heart to his jack. Then he should overtake his club king with dummy’s ace, repeat the heart finesse, draw trumps and claim.