Which suit should he attack first?
By Phillip Alder June 22, 2012 1:12PM
Updated: July 24, 2012 9:43AM
Aristotle said, “In making a speech, one must study three points: first, the means of producing persuasion; second, the language; third, the proper arrangement of the various parts of the speech.”
In bridge there are three parts: first, the bidding; second, counting winners and losers; third, the proper arrangement of the tricks to make the contract.
In this deal, how should South plan the play in four hearts after the defenders begin with three rounds of spades?
In the auction, North’s rebid was a double negative, showing a very bad hand, zero to 3 points. (Two no-trump is the traditional choice, three clubs the modern one.) On the third round, North had little else he could do other than support hearts.
Under West’s spade-king lead, East signals encouragement with his seven. West continues with the spade five, his original fourth-highest. Then East finds the best defense of a third spade.
South needs to take five hearts, three diamonds and two clubs.
After ruffing the third spade, if declarer draws trumps, he is safe against a 3-3 break, but not when they are 4-2, which is more likely.
South needs three diamond tricks, and it is a reliable rule to establish declarer’s side suit first. So South should play a trump to the dummy, then run the diamond jack.
After West wins, if he plays a fourth spade, declarer ruffs on the board, leads a club to his hand, draws trumps and claims. If West leads something else, South wins, draws trumps and claims.