David Letterman cracked, “Traffic signals in New York are just rough guidelines.”
Bridge is full of guidelines, which are rough because there always seem to be exceptions. But most work far more often than not.
What do you think of the bidding in today’s deal? How should the card-play go in four hearts after West leads the trump ace?
I do not like East’s two-spade raise. The hand has 10 losers, which makes it unlikely that four spades will either make or be a cheap sacrifice. But much more important: East has no spade honor. West is so likely to make a costly lead in the suit.
At trick one, East should have made a suit-preference signal, playing the two to warn her partner away from spades. But this deal was played many years ago. West did shift to a spade at trick two.
The declarer was Benedicte Cronier, who was playing for France during that country’s successful quest for the 1995 European Women’s Team Championship.
Cronier overtook dummy’s spade 10 with her queen and led a club toward the dummy. West did well, playing her queen, but declarer knew the odds. She won with dummy’s ace, drew the remaining trumps ending in hand and played a club to dummy’s nine. When this forced out the king, Cronier had a discard for one of her diamond losers. Her ten tricks were two spades, four hearts, one diamond, two clubs and a spade ruff in the dummy.
To defeat four hearts, West had to switch to diamonds at trick two, which was tough given the misleading two-spade raise.