THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
REMEMBERING CAN BE TAXING
Dick Gregory, a comedian, social activist and writer, said, “I wouldn’t mind paying taxes — if I knew they were going to a friendly country.”
On tax day in the United States, let’s examine a deal that ought not to be taxing for someone who remembers the bidding.
First, though, look at the South hand. West deals and opens one club. After two passes, what should South do?
In this balancing seat, the meanings for three of South’s bids change. The first is a one-no-trump overcall. It is no longer strong. Now it is weak, showing 11 to an unappealing 15 points.
North then wisely passes, leaving South in one no-trump. How should he plan the play after West leads his fourth-highest club and East puts up the jack?
Note that with a strong no-trump, South would double first and hope to rebid one no-trump on the next round (if an eight-card major-suit fit was not revealed). Here, that would be easy. But if West’s opening bid were one of a major, South might be forced to rebid two no-trump, which is uncomfortably high. Then, a balancing one-no-trump overcall might contain a poor 16 points.
South has only four top tricks. The best chance for the extra tricks lies in diamonds. From the bidding, West is a heavy favorite to hold the ace. So declarer should win the second (or first) club trick in his hand with the ace and lead a low diamond to dummy’s king. After it wins, he returns a diamond and plays low from his hand. When the ace comes tumbling down, South has seven tricks: two hearts, three diamonds and two clubs.