Thursday, January 1, 2015

Life, Life, Love

Bridge by Frank Stewart

"I don't know why players are apt to be so critical," Rose said to me. Her kindness and courtesy toward others is admirable. "Bridge is hard. Who among us never goofs up?"

"They're often trying to salve a damaged ego," I said, playing the role of amateur psychologist. "Critical players are insecure about their own ability."

Rose says it's better to bite your tongue than to let it bite someone else. When she was today's East, West led the queen of hearts against South's game, and Rose took the ace, examined the dummy and shifted to the ten of diamonds. Declarer put up the queen, winning. He drew trumps, forced out the ace of clubs and claimed an overtrick, discarding a diamond on a high club in dummy.

"I can't believe you led from the king of diamonds," West snorted. "How ridiculous."

Rose must have wanted to tell West that his remark was idiotic as well as unkind, but she bit her tongue.

Rose could see the defenders would get no trump tricks, one heart and one club. (She had to assume West had the ace.) They needed two diamonds, hence Rose had to place the queen with West - and she had to establish diamond tricks before declarer drew trumps and set up the clubs for a discard. Moreover, Rose's "honor-trapping" lead of the ten was vital in case South's diamonds were J-x-x.

Once West didn't find a diamond opening lead, South was always slated to take 11 tricks. Rose made a good play that didn't happen to work. A good partner - which West was not - would have been complimentary, not critical.


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