THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THE TEMPTATIONS CONTINUE TO TEMPT
An old proverb goes: Good habits result from resisting temptation.
That can apply at the bridge table. South is in four hearts. West leads the diamond queen. What temptations must declarer avoid?
In the fourth chair, it was reasonable for South to open four hearts. A slam was unlikely opposite a passed partner and probably this opening would silence the opponents, who might have been able to do well in another suit.
From West’s lead, South knows that East has the diamond ace. So it is tempting to play low from the board. However, here that would give West a chance to be a genius by shifting to the spade eight. And when declarer plays the queen from the dummy, East ducks it. (He knows West would have led a singleton if he had one, and would not have shifted from four low spades.) Then the contract would fail; as it would if West had initially led a spade and East had ducked.
So, South covers with dummy’s diamond king, ruffs the second diamond and draws trumps. It is then tempting to lead a spade to force a way into the dummy to take the tempting club finesse. However, if East, reading West’s spade eight as the start of a high-low with a doubleton, ducks, the contract must fail. Declarer will lose two spades, one diamond and one club.
South has 10 tricks via one spade, seven hearts and two clubs. After drawing trumps, declarer should cash his club ace and continue with the club queen. Then, when he gets to the dummy in spades, he discards a spade loser on the club jack.