Bridge By The Lake
By Ken Masson
Card reading is the art of deducing how the opponents’ cards are divided. Each bid made and each card played by the defenders tell a story. The trick is to read the story, interpret it correctly and then apply the proper prescription to take advantage of the knowledge gained.
South reached four hearts after West had made a one spade overcall. West led the queen of spades and East took dummy’s king with the ace. East returned a spade, taken by West.
West then led his singleton diamond to dummy’s jack. Declarer’s problem was to avoid the loss of more than one trump since he had already lost two tricks.
It was obvious that South would have to lose more than one trump trick if the suit was divided 4-1 or 5-0. Only if the hearts were divided 3-2 was there a chance of losing just one trump trick.
But this alone would not do the job. The player with the doubleton heart would have to have the ace if the contract was to be made. And the first heart lead would have to come from the correct hand if the play was to be successful.
Since West had bid one spade with a queen-high suit, it seemed reasonable to assume that he was the one with the ace of hearts. The first heart play therefore had to originate from the South hand.
Accordingly, declarer entered his hand with a club and led a low heart. West played low and dummy’s queen held. On the heart return, East produced the ten and South ducked. West was forced to win with the ace and the contract was home.
The key to the winning play was West’s spade bid, marking him with some high-card strength, combined with East turning up with the ace of spades at trick one. All that remained was how to take advantage of the knowledge that West had the ace of hearts.
Column: Bridge by the Lake
Ken Masson has been playing, teaching and writing about bridge for more than 40 years. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Ken has been living in the Toronto area since 1967. He and his wife and bridge partner Rosemarie have been wintering in Lakeside since 2006. Even after all these years of playing they find bridge to be a constant challenge and enjoy sharing some of their triumphs and mishaps with Ojo readers in each column.