Bridge column, March 4: The right thought at the right moment
At the bridge table, doing well consists of seeing what everybody has seen, and thinking of the right play at the right moment. The hard part, of course, is having the winning idea pass into your consciousness.
In this deal, how should East plan the defense against four spades after West leads the heart nine?
When South rebid two no-trump to show a minimum balanced hand, North jumped to what he thought would be the best game contract. Note that three no-trump can be defeated after a club lead. When three aces are missing, the defenders have several entries, so they can usually get their long suit established and cashed.
South thought he had only three losers, the missing aces. And that was all he lost when East took the first trick with his ace and played back a heart. Declarer won on the board and drove out the spade ace. As the cards lay, he could not go down.
East hoped West had led a singleton, but that was impossible, because then South would have had four hearts and would have rebid two hearts, not two no-trump. East should have encouraged with his heart 10 at trick one. Then, when West got in with his spade ace, he would have led his second heart, received a heart ruff, and cashed his club ace for down one.
When drawing a conclusion, ask yourself if it is consistent with what has happened.
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