Play the right card; read that card
By Phillip Alder September 13, 2012 2:34PM
Updated: October 15, 2012 9:13AM
Winston Churchill said, “This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.”
This column, by its very shortness, increases its chance of being read. But “read” also applies to the card played by East at the second trick and West’s ability to interpret it correctly.
The auction proceeded along natural lines. Note that, because South denied four hearts when he rebid two spades, North might have rebid three hearts with a strong three-card suit, especially if he was hoping to get into three no-trump when South had a club stopper. Three no-trump is the best game. Four spades, with three top losers in hearts and clubs, requires spades to break 3-3.
West leads the club two, showing exactly a four-card suit. After East wins with his ace, what does he do next?
It is clearly correct to return a club, and he leads the eight, the higher of a remaining doubleton. (If he had returned the three, he would have been showing that he started with two or four clubs.)
West takes South’s 10 with his jack, but what does he do now?
West must realize that South still has two clubs left, the queen and one other. To get two more club tricks, West must put East on lead for another club play through South.
This means that West should shift to a heart. (If East’s entry is the diamond king, he will get in early enough.) Then, East takes the trick with his ace and leads his last club, giving the defenders the first five tricks.