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Phillip Alder: Make him use them up quickly

Phillip Alder • Updated Oct 7, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Wayne Dyer, a personal motivator, wrote, “You do indeed have a past, but not now. And, yes, you have a future, but not now. You can consume your now with thoughts of ‘then’ and ‘maybe,’ but that will keep you from the inner peace you could experience.”

During a bridge deal, now is obviously the bid or play you are about to make. But you should be thinking about the future. Your choice now could decide whether your future is profit or loss.

In this deal, West leads the heart 10 against three no-trump. What should happen?

South’s two-no-trump rebid was technically game-forcing. North thought about passing, but liked his two long suits.

At the table, East played the heart queen. South won with his ace and led the diamond king. West took that and continued with the heart nine, which was fatal to the defense. 

East won with his king (ducking would not have helped) and returned a heart. Declarer won with his jack and played four rounds of clubs. His nine tricks were one spade, three hearts, one diamond and four clubs.

East forgot a key defensive principle. If you are trying to establish winners in a suit where declarer has two stoppers, make him use them up as quickly as possible. East should have played low at trick one. Yes, South can take the trick with his jack and lead the diamond king, but West wins and continues with the heart nine. 

Declarer takes the trick with his ace and plays on clubs, but the defenders harvest one spade, two hearts, one diamond and one club..

Phillip Alder is a longtime New York Times bridge columnist and has taught competitive and recreational bridge to people and teams at all levels for more than 30 years. 

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