It’s not a guess if it is avoided
By Phillip Alder July 20, 2012 1:40PM
Updated: August 22, 2012 6:03AM
Will Rogers said, “I guess there is nothing that will get your mind off everything like golf. I have never been depressed enough to take up the game, but they say you get so sore at yourself you forget to hate your enemies.”
Bridge is surely an even better escape from reality than golf. But the key word for today’s deal is “guess” — how can South guess spades? He is in four hearts, and West leads the trump queen.
The bidding was straightforward. Remember, though, that because North might have raised one heart to two with only three-card support, South’s jump to four hearts promises at least a five-card suit. With only four hearts, South should make a different rebid, perhaps three no-trump.
The lead suggests that trumps are 3-1, not 2-2. And if so, declarer might lose two spades, one heart and one diamond. If South had to guess spades now, he should play low to his jack. West, with the spade ace, would not have led the suit; but with only the queen, he might have chosen that lead.
However, unless East has the diamond king and queen, South does not need to guess at all. He should win the first trick on the board and play a diamond to his jack.
Let’s assume West wins with his queen and perseveres with another trump. South wins, cashes the diamond ace, and plays on clubs.
If West ruffs in, he must either lead a spade around to declarer’s king-jack, or concede a ruff-and-sluff. And if West discards throughout, he is given the lead at trick nine with a trump. Again, West is endplayed.