Will Rogers took a niece to the Louvre to see the Venus de Milo and said to her, “See what will happen if you don’t stop biting your fingernails?”

Sometimes bridge players metaphorically bite their fingernails while trying to make their contract. Today’s is touch and go.

When North made a takeout double over East’s weak two-bid, South was not strong enough to advance two no-trump, which would have shown 10-12 points. (North-South were not using the Lebensohl convention.) But North, having entered the auction after an opponent opened with a pre-empt, assumed his partner had 6 or 7 points. If so, they had the values for game. Therefore, North cue-bid three hearts to ask his partner to bid three no-trump with a heart stopper or two.

After West led the heart six, South saw five top tricks: two hearts and three clubs. If clubs were 3-3, there wouldn’t be a problem, but that was unlikely. Instead, declarer planned to lose tricks to the diamond ace and the spade ace.

Then he remembered the usual rule: If you have two stoppers in the suit they have led and two high cards to drive out, duck trick one.

So, South lost the first trick to East’s heart king, took the second with his heart ace and played on diamonds, using dummy’s honors. West, now out of hearts, shifted to the spade jack, which was covered by the queen and ace.

Back came a spade, but South won and cashed dummy’s clubs. When they were not 3-3, he claimed nine tricks: one spade, two hearts, three diamonds and three clubs.

© 2018 United Feature Syndicate