Doug Collins, a four-time NBA All-Star and current head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, said, "Any time Detroit scores more than 100 points and holds the other team below 100 points, they almost always win."
Top bridge players count points — high-card points. It is one of the most important aspects of the game. This deal shows why.
West opened one no-trump, showing 15 to 17 points. East, with such a weak hand, ran to two hearts via a transfer bid. South then overcalled two spades. West passed, knowing his partner would act again with suitable values. Here, East should have bid three hearts, which could have been made.
Against two spades, West leads the club ace, and East drops the queen, showing either a singleton or the queen and jack. West cashes the club king, then plays a third club. East shifts to a heart. How should South continue?
There are only 18 high-card points missing, and East has already produced three in clubs. West must have the rest. So the normal play in diamonds — low to dummy's queen, then low to declarer's 10 — cannot work. Instead, South needs to endplay West. Declarer should win the heart, cash the spade ace and second heart, then play another trump. Annoyingly, West wins and returns a spade, but South takes that trick and leads his diamond king to West's ace.
If West returns a heart, declarer ruffs in the dummy and sluffs a diamond from his hand. If West leads back a low diamond, South runs it to his 10. But without counting the points, declarer would surely have gone down.
COPYRIGHT: 2012, UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE
SPADES 10 6 5 2
HEARTS Q J
DIAMONDS Q 8 6 3
CLUBS 9 7 4
SPADES K 4 3SPADES 7
HEARTS 9 7 3HEARTS 10 8 6 5 4 2
DIAMONDS A J 4DIAMONDS 9 7 2
CLUBS A K 10 2CLUBS Q J 5
SPADES A Q J 9 8
HEARTS A K
DIAMONDS K 10 5
CLUBS 8 6 3
1 NTPass2 DIAMONDS
Opening lead: CLUBS A