Playing high or low affects the outcome
By Phillip Alder June 11, 2012 1:22PM
Updated: August 23, 2012 9:53AM
Winston Churchill said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
It can be courageous (correct) to stand up or sit down (play high or low) at the bridge table. Which is right in this deal? South is in three no-trump. West leads fourth-highest from his longest and strongest, the heart five. East wins with his ace and returns the nine, the higher of two remaining cards. What happens now?
North opened with a weak two-bid, showing a respectable six-card suit and 6 to 10 high-card points. South bid what he thought he could make.
When in no-trump, always count your top tricks, your immediate winners. Here, South has seven: three spades, one diamond and three clubs. There are four or five more tricks available from the diamonds. What is the danger to the contract?
If the hearts are 5-3 and the diamond finesse is losing, the defenders might take one diamond and four hearts.
At trick two, many Souths would stand up, playing the heart queen. But then they should go down if West knows to sit down, ducking the trick. Then, when East gets in with his diamond king, another heart lead defeats the contract. Instead, at trick two, South should sit down, playing his other low heart. He retains a stopper and breaks the communication between the defenders.
South should think about standing up and sitting down at trick two. Analyzing both should result in his finding the right choice.