2016-10-01 / Entertainment

Three are too few, four just perfect

By Phillip Alder

Louis Sachar, an author of children’s books, said, “I write in the mornings, two or three hours every day, and then at least four times a week I play in a duplicate game at a bridge club. I try to go to tournaments three, four, or five times a year.”

It is always great to hear about someone who thinks bridge is good for his or her career.

In today’s deal, though, the winning defense isn’t child’s play. South is in four hearts. West leads the spade two, and East takes dummy’s king with his ace. How should East plan the defense from there?

When North jumped to three clubs, South could have rebid a game-forcing three hearts, guaranteeing at least a six-card suit, but he knew that a slam was impossible, his hearts were self-sufficient, and his club ace suggested that three no-trump would not be best. So he signed off in four hearts.

West’s low-spade lead from length indicates at least one honor in the suit. So East can see three winners: two spades and one heart. Where is the fourth trick?

East can place the club ace with South; otherwise, his four-heart bid was overly ambitious. Also, from West’s opening lead, East knows that South started with three low spades. If only the defenders could remove dummy’s trumps and cash those spades.

However, note that if East cashes the heart ace and plays his second heart, declarer will draw West’s last trump and run the clubs.

At trick two, East must shift to his low heart. Then South has no answer.

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