Bridge column, October 22: Because he has A, he cannot have B
The grand aim of all bridge players is to find the greatest number of tricks by logical deduction from the smallest number of observations.
This deal was misplayed by at least one declarer at the World Mind Sports Games in August in Lille, France. South is in four hearts after East opened one club. West leads the club seven. How should declarer play the trump suit?
West's one-spade response guaranteed at least a five-card suit. (With only four spades, he would have made a negative double.) North's three-heart advance was pre-emptive. (With a good hand, he would have cue-bid two spades.)
When you have nine trumps missing the queen, the mathematicians tell you that cashing the ace and the king works slightly more often than taking a second-round finesse of the jack. But is that right here? East opened one club. How many cards does he have in the suit?
Given that West led a club, East can have only three clubs. And if he has a doubleton heart, his hand shape will presumably be 4-2-4-3 or 3-2-5-3. Would he have opened one club?
No, he would have bid one diamond. So East must have three or four hearts.
After winning the first trick, South should play a heart to dummy's ace, followed by a heart to the jack. He draws the last trump and loses one spade, one diamond and one club.
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