Bridge column, May 26: Two plays for the price of one
In this deal, there are two plays for the price of one -- the cost of the newspaper. The contract is four spades. After West leads the diamond queen, how should South play? How can the defenders triumph if West gets in with his spade queen?
I agree strongly with South's three-club rebid. The alternatives (two spades with only five and two no-trump with no heart stopper) are much worse.
South has a lot of winners: five clubs, two diamonds and at least four spades. He can go down only if he loses one spade and three hearts. And for that to happen, East must have the heart ace, West must get back on lead, and he must push a high heart through dummy's king.
So, to keep West off lead, South should take the first trick with his diamond king and run the spade jack through West.
When the finesse wins, he takes a second spade finesse, cashes the spade ace, plays a club to his ace, draws West's last trump, and runs the clubs for two overtricks. Note that even if the spade finesse had lost, the contract would have made.
However, suppose declarer takes the normal percentage play in spades, first cashing dummy's ace. When West gets in with a trump, if he anticipates that his side needs three heart tricks to defeat the contract, he will lead the heart queen, hoping his partner has the A-J-10.
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