Benjamin Franklin said, “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

For a bridge player, remember not only to make the right bid or play at the right moment, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong bid or unplayed the wrong card at the tempting moment.

Today’s deal is an example. How should South play in four spades after West leads the diamond queen?

Many players would be down almost before they had started. They would win the first trick with the diamond ace, draw trumps ending in hand and take the club finesse. However, East would win that trick with his king and shift to the heart queen. The defenders would take one club and three hearts.

A more careful declarer will spend some time analyzing the deal before playing from the board at trick one. He will see 10 winners: six spades, two diamonds and two clubs. But he will also notice the difficulty if the club finesse is losing. Then, though, he might spot the best line of play.

Do not win trick one!

South takes trick two with his diamond ace, draws trumps, plays a club to dummy’s ace and discards his second club on the diamond king. Then he leads the club queen. If East covers with the king, declarer ruffs, plays a trump to the board and pitches a heart on the club jack. Or, if East plays a low club, South throws a heart, not caring what happens next.

— Phillip Alder,

NEA Bridge

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