John Lennon, presumably at a concert, said, “Those in the cheaper seats clap. The rest of you rattle your jewelry.”
In yesterday’s deal, South made a jewel of a play, throwing his diamond king under East’s ace from king-doubleton. This left East uncertain who held the last unseen diamond: West or South. Today, to redress the balance, East has a chance for his own sparkling play.
South is in three no-trump. West leads a fourth-highest spade seven: four, jack, king. What should happen after that?
The auction told the defenders that declarer did not have a four-card major. If you are willing to sacrifice your present meaning for an immediate jump to three of a major, North could respond three spades, showing game values with four hearts. Then, when South rebids three no-trump, the defenders know only that South does not have four hearts.
South starts with eight top tricks: one spade (trick one), two hearts, three diamonds and two clubs. Obviously, he will play a club to dummy’s ace and return a club. What should East discard?
No doubt there is a temptation to pitch the heart queen, but East should study the spade suit more closely. First, he should apply the Rule of Eleven. Seven from 11 is four. So there are four spades higher than the seven in the North, East and South hands combined — and East saw all four at trick one. However, West does not know who holds the spade queen.
East should clarify the situation for his partner by throwing the spade queen onto the table, as ’twere a careless trifle.
© 2018 United Feature Syndicate