Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Life, Life, Love

Bridge by Frank Stewart

A few years ago I wrote up a deal in which declarer had a choice of plays. The best play was unclear. He chose a reasonable line that didn't work.

The point of my column was not to show that a different line would have been 2 percent better, but to suggest that a good partner is supportive, not critical, at such times. That is simply good partnership psychology. But I heard from readers who missed the point: They wanted to discuss declarer's best play, which was irrelevant.

You're today's North, and West leads the jack of hearts against South's slam: queen, king, ace. South takes the ace of clubs, leads a trump to dummy and returns the jack of clubs, throwing his last heart. West wins with the queen.

South ruffs the next heart and cashes the A-K of diamonds. He then lets the ten of clubs ride, pitching his last diamond. Alas, West produces the king for down one.

"Sorry," your partner says. "I thought West would have led the king of clubs if he held the K-Q."

What do you say?

I would be sympathetic. South made a logical play that failed. At least he didn't just try to guess the queen of diamonds.

In fact, South missed the best play. (After he takes the ace of clubs, he can get to dummy three times with trumps to ruff the rest of dummy's clubs. Then he exits with a heart, and the defense must lead a diamond or concede a ruff-sluff.) Still, North would achieve nothing by being critical. Your partner's dummy play is really no concern of yours. If you aren't happy with it, look for a new partner.

Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected