Bridge column, September 28: How will you go back and forth?
A top bridge declarer, whether playing in New York, London or somewhere else, works at making it easy to go back and forth between his hand and the dummy's.
How is that relevant to this deal? South is in three no-trump, and West leads a fourth-highest heart four.
On round two of the auction, South, with stoppers in both unbid suits, looked for the nine-trick game. Then North, with some extras and a good suit, correctly raised to three no-trump.
South needs to establish one of those long suits. But should he work on diamonds or on clubs?
The mathematics is clear-cut. The eighth club greatly improves the chance of getting sufficient tricks from the suit. But if South takes East's heart queen with his ace at the first trick, leads a club to dummy's ace (the right play), and continues with the jack, West will not take the trick. South will need two hand entries: one to establish the clubs and one to run them. And he has only one left.
South has two guaranteed entries in his aces, but only if he wins the first trick with dummy's heart king. Then, after the ace and jack of clubs, declarer can play a heart to his ace and lead another club. West cashes three hearts, but South takes the rest.
Did you notice that if the heart four is an honest card, hearts must be 4-4 or 5-3, not 6-2, so crossing to the heart ace is safe?
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