Bridge column, September 29: Do not be greedy when in a slam
Greed can be expensive at the bridge table. Do not risk your contract for the sake of an overtrick unless you are playing in a pair event scored by matchpoints and have the odds in your favor. In pairs, overtricks can be very valuable.
In today's deal, how should South play in six spades after West leads the heart 10? As a secondary issue, what contract would you like to be in?
First, in the bidding, North's three-club response would normally promise at least eight points. But this pair was playing the modern style that two clubs - two diamonds - two of a major - three clubs would be a double negative, showing zero to 4 points. So a three-club positive may be a tad lighter than usual.
Seven clubs is an excellent contract. However, it would be easy to assume that the spades were worth five tricks and start by drawing trumps. With this layout, though, doing so would be fatal. Instead, South must take a diamond ruff in his hand, then run the clubs to squeeze East in the major suits.
Six spades is similar. If South ruffs at trick one and greedily plays spades from the top, he goes down. East will trump the second club and cash two hearts for down two.
Instead, after ruffing, South should play a low spade from each hand, accepting one loser to ensure 12 winners.
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