Bridge column, September 22: If things go badly, hope they'll improve
No one can change that often.
Some contracts start out looking easy. But then there is a sudden bump in the road, perhaps a bad trump break. Do not give up hope -- unless your task is completely hopeless, of course! Change your plan; maybe things will improve. In other words, look for a way to get home anyway.
This is the sort of deal that an expert finds easy, but a less-experienced player has difficulty envisioning the layout that he needs for success.
South is in four spades. West starts the defense with three top hearts. After ruffing, what should South do? How should he continue when he learns that East has a definite trump trick?
Note North's two-no-trump response over West's takeout double. It shows at least four-card spade support and game-invitational values or better. Then, when South signs off in three spades, North's raise is borderline because he has so many losers. But a prudent pass would have ruined the column.
Since West's double suggests spade shortage, at trick four South should lead a low spade to dummy's ace, hoping West has a singleton 10 or queen. When that does not materialize, the only chance is an endplay, which requires East to have at most two diamonds.
After two top spades, declarer takes his three club and two diamond winners, then leads a spade. When East has to return a heart or a club, South ruffs in his hand and sluffs dummy's last diamond.
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