Bridge column, August 4: Bad declarer-play helps the defense
Oh, that his Theory of Relativity were that easy.
When you are playing an easy contract, five minutes seems like a second. When you are in an impossible contract, five minutes quickly runs up to 10 minutes.
If today's deal looks familiar, you read yesterday's column. Then, South, in three no-trump, won the first trick with dummy's heart ace and played on clubs to get home.
Now suppose that South plays low from the board at trick one. What should happen? South's three-no-trump response showed a good 12 to 15 points, a balanced hand, fewer than four spades (no negative double), and at least one heart stopper. His hand is nearly perfect; it would be improved with a second heart stopper.
After declarer plays low from the dummy, East wins with his king. But what does he do next?
West's lead must be a singleton or the higher card of a doubleton. So South has two heart stoppers. And dummy's club suit is threatening to provide sufficient tricks for the contract.
Since plowing on with hearts won't be good enough, East should shift to a diamond. And given dummy's singleton nine, he ought to lead the 10.
This establishes three diamond tricks to go with the heart king and a club winner. When working on one suit looks as though it will not defeat the contract, look at the other choices, however long that takes you.
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