Bridge June 16


THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder

Rene Descartes, a French mathematician, philosopher and writer, said, “(Intuition and deduction are) the two operations on which we have said we must rely in the acquisition of knowledge.”
At the bridge table, we make deductions and sometimes use intuition. A few deals involve making one deduction and using that to draw a second deduction. Today’s is an example.
South jumps into six spades. West leads the heart king. How should declarer plan the play?
After North made a game-invitational limit raise, South knew that a grand slam would be good if his partner held the spade king, heart king and diamond queen. But since he had no way to find out if North had that perfecto, South sensibly took a shot at six spades.
The contract looks too easy. Draw trumps, run the diamonds and claim an overtrick. But rather than plunge recklessly forward, South should wonder what might go wrong.
The only danger is a bad split in each pointed suit. If diamonds are 4-0, there will be a loser only if East has all four. If spades are 3-0, declarer can avoid a loser by guessing which opponent is long in the suit and finessing through him.
South should assume he has a diamond loser. But if East has four diamonds, who is likely to be long in spades? Right — West.
So, after taking the first trick with his heart ace, declarer should cash his spade ace. Here, when East discards, South plays a spade to dummy’s jack, cashes the spade king, throws his heart five on the club ace and concedes a diamond trick when they do break 4-0.

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