Bridge column, September 12: Quickly or slowly, which is better?
That is interesting from someone who had to make split-second decisions on a tennis court. However, in each deal, declarer and the defenders must decide whether to strive quickly to take the number of tricks needed to make or break the contract, or to act more leisurely, slowly developing the necessary winners.
Which applies in today's deal? South is in one no-trump. West leads his fourth-highest diamond, East puts up the jack, and South wins with his king.
These days, many Easts would have responded one heart over North's takeout double. But it consumes no space and cannot even be considered a useful lead-director.
South starts with five top tricks: three spades, one diamond (trick one) and one club. It looks tempting to play on clubs, where surely West has the king. But note what happens. If declarer plays a club to the queen, cashes the club ace, and plays a third club, East takes the trick and returns a diamond. Then the defenders can collect one club, four diamonds and two hearts for down one.
Is there a better way to get the two extra tricks?
Yes, if South is willing to go slowly by attacking hearts. He loses two tricks in the suit, but he also establishes two winners. The defense is held to two hearts and four diamonds, while declarer takes three spades, two hearts, one diamond and one club.
Losing tricks early to establish winners is a common no-trump strategy.
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