THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
TO FINESSE OR TO ESTABLISH?
George Orwell claimed, “One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.”
At the bridge table, one sometimes establishes a winner in order to safeguard a contract — as in this deceptive deal. South reaches four hearts. What should he do after West leads the diamond king?
North’s three-diamond jump-cue-bid below three of partner’s suit was a Mixed Raise. It showed four-card heart support, 7-9 high-card points and nine losers: a hand too good for a pre-emptive jump-raise to three hearts and too weak for a game-invitational two-diamond cue-bid raise.
The original South won with his diamond ace, drew trumps and played a spade to dummy’s 10. East won with his jack and returned a diamond. Declarer ruffed and took a second failing spade finesse. Later, he lost two club tricks to go down one.
Agreed, it was unlucky that all four key cards were offside, but South could have survived. After drawing trumps, declarer should have attacked clubs. West would have won with his queen and shifted to a spade, but South would have taken a finesse. East would have won and led back a diamond. South would have ruffed and played the club king.
West could have won this trick or the next and led a spade, but declarer would have won with dummy’s ace and discarded dummy’s last spade on his fourth club. Then, finally, South would have ruffed his third spade. He would have taken one spade, five hearts, one diamond, two clubs and that spade ruff on the board.