Bridge column, August 18: Four are needed; how to get them?
In this deal, South is in three no-trump. Five tricks are needed to beat that contract -- but which five? If you know a member of Gracie Allen's family, ask her or him, because it is tough.
West leads the heart nine. South wins that trick and plays a diamond. How should West continue?
North, after using Stayman and finding out that his side did not have a 4-4 spade fit, might have rebid three no-trump. But that could have been silly if South were weak in hearts. His three-diamond rebid showed a four-card major, five-plus diamonds and game-forcing values.
The first important defensive play occurs immediately. When West leads a top-of-nothing heart nine, East knows South has the ace, king and jack. So East should play his two, not the queen, which he should do only with the queen and king.
Then, when West is in with the diamond ace, he should realize that his side needs to take four club tricks now. But how?
This is a very tough play to find at the table without a warning bell ringing. West must hope that East has king-third. The right play is to cash the ace, under which East will signal encouragement with his higher spot-card. West then leads his club two, East wins with his king and returns his remaining club, here giving West two more tricks with his jack-nine over South's 10-seven.
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