Bridge column, February 13: Cut the defenders from each other
Edwin Schlossberg, the founder of ESI Design and the constructor of the first hands-on learning environment in the United States at the Brooklyn Children's Museum, said, "True interactivity is not about clicking on icons or downloading files; it's about encouraging communication."
True bridge is not about making meaningless bids and playing uninformative cards; it is about communicating with your partner -- and sometimes about breaking the opponents' communication.
In this deal, South is in three no-trump after East overcalled in hearts. West leads the heart 10. How should declarer plan the play?
Some Souths would have made a negative double over one heart to show the four-card spade suit. But with a limited hand worth only one bid, two solid heart stoppers and four weak spades, I like one no-trump. (If South had doubled, North would have rebid two hearts, a game-forcing cue-bid, South would have rebid two or three no-trump, and the final contract would have been the same.)
South started with seven top tricks: two spades, two hearts and three diamonds. He had to establish two club winners.
Thinking no further, the original declarer took the first trick and played a club from his hand. West was not napping. He rose with his king and led his remaining heart. Whether South won or lost this trick, when he played a second club, East took the trick and cashed his hearts for down one.
South should have cut the communications between East and West by ducking the first trick. Then he would have made his contract.
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