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Fun an d Gam es

by Phillip Alder
bid them up,
then play them up
Calvin Trillin, a writer and humorist,
said, “The average trade book has a shelf
life of between milk and yogurt, except
for books by any member of the Irving
Wallace family -- they have preservatives.”
Some contracts need trades to
preserve their success. Today, South is
in four spades. What should he do after
the defenders begin with three rounds of
diamonds, West ruffing the third with the
spade seven?
In the auction, North’s jump to
three spades was pre-emptive, showing
four-card support and a 10-loser hand
-- exactly what he had! (With nine losers
and 7-9 high-card points, he would have
bid three diamonds, the jump cue being
called a mixed raise. That is a useful addition to raises in competition.) South’s
four-spade bid was necessary for this
column to see printer’s ink!
South had four potential losers: one
spade, two diamonds and one club. But,
assuming East held the spade king as
part of his opening bid, declarer counted
10 winners: five spades, two hearts, two
clubs and a diamond ruff on the board.
What could go wrong?
Maybe the defenders would gain
a trump trick even when East held
the king. Note what happens if declarer overruffs West’s spade seven with
dummy’s 10. However South turns, East
will get a trump trick.
To avoid falling to this trump promotion, declarer deftly discarded a club
from the dummy -- a textbook loser-onloser play. West shifted to a club, but
South won with the ace, ran the spade
jack, drew trumps and ruffed his third
club for a sixth spade trick.