Ellsworth Huntington, who taught at Euphrates College in Turkey from 1897 to 1901 and was a professor of geography at Yale University, said, "A journey of 430 miles can be made in any part of the United States, but in Turkey it takes as many days."
The card play of a bridge journey starts with the first trick. And many forget that it is all too easy immediately to take the wrong road. What should South do in this contract of three no-trump after West leads the club two and East plays the three?
South seems to start with nine top tricks: one spade, four hearts, one diamond and three clubs (given the first trick). But the heart suit is blocked and will furnish four tricks only if declarer has a way into the dummy. Well, what is South's dummy entry?
It must come from the club suit. But if declarer takes the wrong first step, winning trick one as cheaply as possible with his six, he will not reach the finish line except against bad defense. In this scenario, South might as well cash his club ace, just to confirm the 4-1 split, take his heart king, overtake the heart jack with dummy's queen, cash the heart ace and try the diamond finesse. But it loses and the contract fails.
Since South will never get a fourth club trick (unless he pulls off a most unlikely endplay), he should win the first trick with his ace (or king). Then he plays off the heart king and jack, cashes the club king (or ace), and leads a club toward dummy's jack. He must end with at least nine tricks.
Take your time before deciding which way to step at trick one.
COPYRIGHT: 2012, UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE
SPADES 6 3
HEARTS A Q 4 3
DIAMONDS 7 6 4
CLUBS J 9 5 4
SPADES J 7 2SPADES K Q 10 9
HEARTS 8 5HEARTS 10 9 7 6 2
DIAMONDS K J 8 5DIAMONDS 10 9 2
CLUBS Q 10 7 2CLUBS 3
SPADES A 8 5 4
HEARTS K J
DIAMONDS A Q 3
CLUBS A K 8 6
2 NTPass3 CLUBSPass
3 SPADESPass3 NTAll pass
Opening lead: CLUBS 2