Sometimes a void can be helpful
By Phillip Alder January 15, 2013 1:44PM
Updated: February 17, 2013 6:07AM
Voltaire, whose real name was Francois-Marie Arouet, said, “Chance is a word void of sense; nothing can exist without a cause.”
You have chances in bridge that are not void of sense if you have analyzed the available data. In this deal, though, it is knowledge of a void that gives you a chance to make a tough contract.
South is in six spades. West leads the heart jack. How should declarer proceed?
East opened three clubs to show a respectable seven-card suit and limited high-card values. True, because there is no weak two-bid in clubs, sometimes a player will open three clubs with a strong six-card suit. But in this instance, if West had had a club, he would have led it.
North’s raise to five spades was aggressive, but without it, South would not have had a story with which to bore dinner companions for weeks.
Declarer will initially think that if the diamond finesse works, he will take seven spades, two hearts, two diamonds and a diamond ruff in the dummy. But what chance has that finesse?
It is surely zero. Assuming West’s lead is honest, East is marked with nine points in hearts and clubs. With the diamond king as well, he would have opened one club, not three.
There is one winning line. South ruffs the first trick, draws two rounds of trumps ending on the board, and cashes the top hearts, discarding his diamond ace and queen! Then he ruffs a heart, removes West’s last trump, and leads his remaining diamond. West must let declarer into the dummy. South takes seven spades, four hearts and one diamond.