Bridge column, October 29: Clubs or diamonds; it's your choice
It would take a clever bridge player not to make a minor-suit blunder in today's deal.
How should South plan the play in three no-trump after West leads his fourth-highest heart?
When North rebid two clubs, he showed at least a six-card suit and denied a four-card major. South then logically jumped to three no-trump. With a good five-card suit and 11 of his 12 points in two aces and one king, his hand was worth more than its base 12 points.
South starts with six top tricks: one spade, two hearts, one diamond and two clubs. The natural reaction is to win the first trick in hand with the heart king and to play a club to the 10. Surely either the clubs will break 3-2 or West will have both the queen and jack. (That is about 76 percent.)
However, there is a better choice, because the diamonds also offer hope for extra tricks. Declarer, after taking the first trick in his hand to retain dummy's ace as an entry, should cash dummy's two top clubs. Is the suit 3-2? If so, South plays another club and has nine tricks: one spade, two hearts, one diamond and five clubs. Here, though, the clubs are 4-1. Now declarer runs the diamond 10. It loses to West's queen and he returns a heart to dummy's ace, but South takes a second diamond finesse and cashes the ace. When the king drops, declarer has one spade, two hearts, four diamonds and two clubs. South's chances have risen to over 85 percent.
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