By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bridge 11/09
The careless are still caught out
Placeholder Image
    English golfer Harry Vardon, he of the Vardon grip, said, "More matches are lost through carelessness at the beginning than any other cause."
    We know that applies to bridge, but it does not stop many declarers from plowing into the play without forming a plan.
    Although the theme in this deal has been seen before, it still catches out the careless. West leads his fourth-highest heart against your contract of three no-trump. What would be your plan?
    Whatever your range for opening two no-trump -- 20 to 21 (modern) or 20-plus to 22 (my strong preference) -- add up your controls. An ace is worth two controls and a king one. The normal number for a two-no-trump opening is seven.     If you have more than that -- and this South hand contains eight -- be willing to open two no-trump one point shy of your usual requirement.
    You have eight top tricks: two spades, two hearts, one diamond and three clubs. It looks obvious to win with your heart king, play off the ace-queen of clubs, lead a heart to dummy's ace, and cash the club king. If the jack drops like a well-behaved young man, you will collect an overtrick. But with this layout, you can no longer make your contract.
That line works fine if the clubs are 3-3 or someone holds the doubleton jack. Another approach also works when an opponent has a doubleton nine. At trick three, overtake your club queen with dummy's king. Here the nine appears, so continue with dummy's club 10 to drive out West's jack. You get four club tricks and nine in all.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter