THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THE PLAY THAT IS EASY TO MISS
Flip Wilson, a comedian and actor who died in 1998, said, “Get-well cards have become so humorous that if you don’t get sick, you’re missing half the fun.”
If you miss the right play at the bridge table, it is not fun and can make you feel uncomfortable. Let’s stay fit and healthy during today’s deal.
South is in three no-trump. What should he do after West leads the diamond queen?
Note North’s rebid. He could not support spades or hearts, or rebid diamonds, or bid no-trump. He solved the problem by resorting to three clubs, the artificial fourth-suit game-forcing. The most common reason for using fourth-suit-forcing is a desire to get to three no-trump, but the responder does not have a stopper in that fourth suit.
Declarer has seven top tricks: one spade, two hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. The opening lead makes it impossible that the diamonds are breaking favorably. Instead, South must play to win three spade tricks. He cashes dummy’s ace (both defenders play low), then leads the spade five toward his hand. Assuming East plays low, what should declarer do?
If the suit is splitting 3-3, everything will work. But what about a more likely 4-2 division?
If West has king-queen-fourth, declarer is going down. If East has king-queen-fourth, putting up the jack (or 10) is the winning play. However, if West began with a doubleton, it is 8 to 6 that he has honor-doubleton, not low-doubleton.
So South should play low from his hand, which, of course, works here.