Bridge column, May 17: The danger is not clear-cut
That is easy to say, especially if the danger is readily apparent. Sometimes, though, the menace is hidden around the corner. Then, having to guess what might be waiting makes life much harder.
In this deal, many declarers would go down in six hearts, not anticipating what is about to happen. Only the wary would take the necessary precaution. What should South do after West leads the club six?
South's four-heart opening showed a strong eight-card (or longer) suit and, usually, 5 to 10 high-card points. (He might have a stronger hand, especially when short in spades, hoping both to silence the opponents and not to miss a slam when partner passes with a good hand.)
North's raise to five hearts asked South to bid a slam with at most a one-loser suit.
It looks so easy to take the first trick on the board and to start drawing trumps. Here, though, disaster can strike, East winning with his ace and giving his partner a club ruff.
The only danger is that ruff. And there is a way to avoid it. After taking the first trick on the board, declarer should cash the two top spades and discard his remaining clubs. Then he calls for dummy's trump. East can win and play a club, but South can ruff high, draw trumps and claim, his diamond loser disappearing on one of dummy's club winners.
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