Bridge column, February 20: Patience is hard to practice
Napoleon Hill, who was one of the pioneers of personal-success literature, said, "Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success."
At the bridge table, patience and persistence are excellent. If you are perspiring, the air-conditioning or heating system must be on the blink.
How is patience a virtue in this deal? South is in four hearts. West leads his singleton diamond. East overtakes with his ace and continues with the king, which South ruffs with the heart king. What happens after that?
South made a textbook triple-jump overcall. North was not sure if game would make, but since it could have been laydown, he sensibly raised to four hearts.
South has three aces to lose. To make his contract, he must not concede a second trump trick.
Note that East's winning the first trick with his ace and then leading the king were suit-preference signals for spades.
What will happen depends on West's patience. Since he knows East has the spade ace, there will be a temptation to overruff with the heart ace and shift to a spade. East will win with his ace and lead another diamond, but South will ruff high, draw trumps in two more rounds, and claim. West must be patient, discarding at trick two.
South will continue with a high trump, but West wins and puts his partner on lead in spades. When East plays a diamond, it promotes a second trump trick for West. South has only two high trumps left, and West still holds the nine and the three.
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