Bridge March 18


THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder

Sam Levenson, a comedian and author, said, “If you die in an elevator, be sure to push the Up button.”
If your partner bids up, you (or he) had better know how to push — play — the cards correctly.
In today’s deal, South is catapulted into four spades. What should he do after West leads the club ace and continues with the club king?
In answer to North’s takeout double, South might have expediently responded one diamond. North was less likely to get excessively enthusiastic opposite a minor-suit bid than opposite one in a major. However, four spades can be made. (And note that five clubs doubled costs 500, more than the value of the North-South game.)
North’s four-club rebid was a splinter, showing four-card spade support, a very strong hand and at most a singleton club.
Declarer’s basic plan should be to lose only two hearts and one club. He should aim to take four spades, one heart, four diamonds and the trick-two ruff on the board. So, after trumping the club king low, South should draw trumps, then play the ace and another heart. Suppose West takes the second heart and leads the club jack. Declarer ruffs and must finesse in diamonds — but how?
Since he might — and here does — need to take three diamond finesses, he must first lead his diamond nine — the lowest card in his hand that can hold the trick, assuming the finesse works. After winning with the diamond nine, South runs the diamond jack, plays a diamond to dummy’s queen, and claims those 10 tricks.

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