Fort Myers Florida Weekly

What can defeat me?




Let’s say you’re in three notrump and West leads the six of clubs. There appears to be nothing to the play, so you take East’s king of clubs with the ace and return a low diamond. West follows low, but when you win with dummy’s queen, East shows out, and there you are — in danger of losing the contract. In due course, you find that no matter how you twist and turn, the best you can do is go down one.

You could attribute the result to bad luck, if you were so inclined, but the plain fact is that if you played the hand this way, the outcome is really your own fault.

The moment dummy comes down, you can see that the contract is ice-cold if the diamonds are divided 2-2 or 3-1. The only threat is an unlikely — but possible — 4-0 break. Granting that a 4-0 diamond division is only a 1-in-10 possibility, that does not excuse the failure to make provisions for it.

Once you’ve developed the habit of worrying about such things, it becomes clear that the right play at trick two is the jack of diamonds, not the deuce. If West has all four diamonds, leading the jack will enable you to make four diamond tricks — and the contract — because dummy’s K-Q-7 will eventually swallow up West’s 10-9-4 with the aid of repeated finesses.

It is true that if East has all four diamonds, leading the jack won’t help you a bit. But in that case, there isn’t anything you can do to salvage the contract. In bridge, all you’re expected to do is to control the controllable. ¦

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