bridge 4-6

If a movie makes a lot of money, thoughts immediately turn to filming a sequel. Usually, that sequel just adds a number to the original; for example, “Back to the Future II.” But what would have been the sequel to “Madame X”: “Madame XI” or “Madame Y”?

In many bridge deals, if declarer makes the right play early, the sequel is success; whereas if he blunders near the beginning, he cannot recover — as in today’s deal.

Against South’s four-heart contract, West leads the spade queen. What should declarer do?

North’s response of two diamonds was a transfer bid, showing at least five hearts and possibly no points. His jump rebid of three no-trump offered a choice of games. South, despite his 4-3-3-3 distribution, went with the nine-card fit. (Note that three no-trump has no chance after West leads the spade queen.)

A careless declarer sees only three losers: the missing aces. He wins trick one and immediately plays a trump. However, East wins and returns a spade. Suddenly South sees a fourth — now unavoidable — loser in spades: down one.

A careful declarer realizes he must do something about his third-round spade loser immediately. He must discard a spade from the board on his third diamond. Also, since the defender with the diamond ace might duck for one round, South carefully wins the first trick with dummy’s spade king. Then he leads a diamond. However the defenders play, dummy’s spade loser evaporates and the contract is made.

Keep two eyes open for those third-round losers.

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