Bridge column, September 7: The points matter most of all
In this column, I often stress how important it is to keep track of the high-card points. Here is another example. West is defending against four hearts. He leads the diamond ace: three, nine, jack. He continues with the diamond king: six, two, queen. But what should he do next?
The auction was straightforward. South's opening was no thing of beauty, with his pointed-suit honors perhaps being worthless. But with 13 high-card points, he had to open. And his three-heart rebid promised at least a six-card suit. North, with no diamond stopper, had no choice but to raise.
First, West should check the high-card points. He has 14 and the dummy has 13. That leaves only 13 missing. East presumably has at most one jack. This means that the defenders will not get any black-suit tricks. West must try for two trump tricks.
At trick three, he should lead a low diamond. Then East should appreciate that even if he could win this trick by ruffing low (South still having the diamond 10 in his hand), his heart 10 will not serve any useful purpose. So, just in case West is trying for an uppercut, East should ruff with his 10.
Here, South has to overruff with his queen and West gets two trump tricks by covering South's next trump lead as cheaply as possible.
When you want partner to ruff, lead a loser, not a winner.
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