The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 5, 2014

Bridge column: Long suits are worth long tricks

The Mankato Free Press

---- — In "The Merchant of Venice," William Shakespeare wrote, "At the length, the truth will out."

Whenever you play bridge, dwell at length on your long suits because, in truth, they will usually generate extra tricks. Some players are too wedded to high-card points and forget to add value for a long suit.

When I watched this deal being played, I liked South's one-no-trump response. His hand was so soft, with defensive, not offensive, values. (He thought about passing, but no one would do that today.) Then North surprised me by raising to two no-trump. Yes, he had only 17 high-card points, but he should have added two points for his six-card suit and jumped to three no-trump.

True, if West had been psychic and led a diamond, the contract would probably have gone down two. But he understandably chose a spade, selecting the 10, showing zero or two higher honors by partnership agreement.

South won with his queen and played a club to dummy's queen.

East should have ducked this, which would have perhaps tempted South into an indiscretion. (He might have, for example, played a heart to his queen. Then West could have won and returned to a heart.) However, East won the trick and shifted to a low heart. West won with his ace and returned a heart. In the fullness of time, declarer took nine tricks.

It would have been much better play for South to have led his club jack at trick two, so he could have stayed in his hand to repeat the club finesse if it were winning (or, here, East ducked).