Bridge column, April 30: You claimed 10, so count to 10
If a bridge player goes down in a contract he thinks he should have made, he will spend some time trying to work out a winning line. But it won't take him 10 years; after the first couple, he will conclude that the contract was unmakeable.
In today's deal, South's job is to win 10 tricks in four spades. It does not matter how many losers he has, as long as he takes 10 tricks. South wins West's heart-king lead with the ace and cashes his two top trumps, West discarding a heart on the second. How should declarer continue?
This auction is awkward -- should North's three-spade rebid be nonforcing or forcing? I am in the forcing camp, but obviously if North has, say, a 3-2-3-5 10-count, he would like it to be nonforcing. However, that possibility is less likely and risks contorting a stronger sequence, especially if North is thinking about a slam.
South seems to have four unavoidable losers: two spades and two hearts. But how might he take 10 tricks first?
Watch! Declarer cashes dummy's top clubs, ruffs a club in his hand and takes his three diamond winners, ending on the board. With nine tricks in, South calls for the last club.
East is defenseless. If he discards, declarer trumps for his 10th trick. And if East ruffs with one of his trump winners, South pitches a heart loser and concedes only two spades and one heart.
** ** **
COPYRIGHT: 2012, UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE
DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL UCLICK FOR UFS