It Can’t Hurt to Try
If you examine the layout of today’s deal, it would seem that South must eventually lose a spade and three club tricks and so go down one in four hearts. Sooner or later declarer would have to try leading a club to the king in hopes that East had the ace, and that would be the end of that.
But given West’s vulnerable two-notrump bid — the “unusual notrump” indicating at least five cards in both minors — South was reluctant to rest his fate solely on the slim chance that East had the ace of clubs. Accordingly, he looked for an alternative line of play that would add to his chances, and eventually came up with one that was not likely but certainly possible.
So he won the king of diamonds with the ace, ruffed a diamond, drew two rounds of trumps ending in dummy and ruffed another diamond. Having thus eliminated the diamonds from his own hand and dummy, he cashed the ace of spades and then led the four!
The situation that South had hoped for now came to pass. West won the second spade with the queen and was endplayed. Whether he led a club or a diamond, declarer could not lose more than two club tricks, so the contract was home.
Declarer’s line of play was a lot more than just a wild shot in the dark. He knew from the bidding and the early play that West was most likely to have started with five diamonds, five clubs, one heart and therefore two spades. If West’s second spade was the queen, he would be in a losing position when the four of spades was led. Failing this remote but possible chance, South could still fall back on East’s holding the ace of clubs.
It is true that West could have foiled declarer’s plan by dropping the queen under the ace when South cashed that card. But this would certainly not be an easy thing to do since West had no way of knowing South’s exact holdings in spades and clubs at that point in the play.
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 March 26.
North-South, overall winners: Paul Bacon-Philippe Galaski, 70.98; James Hastings-John Sedgwick, 63.94; Roger Miller-F Collins Jr, 61.46; Strata B: Roger Miller-F Collins Jr, 61.46; Strata C: Sheila Ryan-Liz Hildebrandt, 48.11;
East-West, overall winners: Roger Webb-Leo Sartori, 58.70; Timothy Joder-James Osofsky, 57.61; Daniel H. Williams-Israel Koren, 56.20; Bernard Miller-Don Weld, 54.59; Sonja Smith-David Rock, 53.66; Anne McCune-James Nowill, 52.58; Strata B: Daniel H. Williams-Israel Koren, 56.20; Strata C: Daniel H. Williams-Israel Koren, 56.20;