Let’s suppose that in a given deal, your partner opens the bidding with one spade, and, after you respond one notrump, he next bids four spades. It is surely reasonable to assume that your partner has at least six very good spades for his bids.
True, this is only an inference; in theory, he might have any number of spades, maybe only four or five. Anything is possible in the abstract sense, but you should not start out by assuming that your partner has escaped from an insane asylum.
Applying this inference to the present case, South should decide from East’s opening bid and West’s failure to lead a heart that West has no hearts. Furthermore, when declarer wins the opening spade lead with the ace and East’s king falls, he can also logically conclude that East started with either the singleton king or the K-Q doubleton.
To clarify the situation, South ruffs a low spade at trick two. When East shows out, all doubt about the spade distribution is resolved, and South knows for certain that West started with seven spades.
Declarer now draws trumps, learning that West also started with just two clubs. So, from what he has discovered, South concludes that West started with precisely a 7-0-4-2 distribution.
Accordingly, South cashes the ace of diamonds, overtakes the queen with the king and continues with the ten of diamonds, discarding a heart. West wins with the jack and plays the queen of spades, on which South discards another heart!
West now has no choice but to lead a spade to dummy’s jack or a diamond to dummy’s nine, allowing declarer to discard his remaining heart and so make five clubs. Observe that South does nothing marvelous; he merely puts all the pieces of the puzzle together as they become known.
Bridge club results
The Northampton Bridge Club welcomes anyone who wishes to play duplicate bridge. Open pairs game: 7 p.m. every Tuesday at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, 1 Atwood Drive, Northampton. The club manager is available at 253-3508 to assist players in need of partners. The club’s website is www.northamptonbridgeclub.com
There were 11 tables in play Feb. 26.
North-South, overall winners: Elaine Dray-Ray Somerville, 61.56; Sheila Ryan-Marilyn Schmidt, 55.94; Paul Bacon-Philippe Galaski, 54.81; James Hastings-John Sedgwick, 54.06; Muriel Dane-Norman Brown, 51.97; Strata B: Elaine Dray-Ray Somerville, 61.56; Strata C: Judy Williams-Dudley Williams, 48.04;
East-West, overall winners: Sonja Smith-David Rock, 62.02; Roger Webb-Leo Sartori, 55.35; James Osofsky-Markus Wagner, 53.43; George Griffin-Evelyn Chesky, 53.17; Eva Cashdan-Sheldon Cashdan, 51.25; Strata B: George Griffin-Evelyn Chesky, 53.17; Strata C: Anne McCune-James Nowill, 45.38