Courage by Josephine Culbertson
On 5 February, 2014 At 7:28
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The prime ingredient in many successful defenses is simple courage. I am not referring to the sort of “courage” that a player shows in bidding about three tricks more than his hand is worth- This is not courage but rashness -but to the type of play made by one of the East players in a recent team -of four contest.
This bidding ruled at both tables and the opening lead, the spade jack, was also the same. But the final outcome was decidedly different.
At the second trick both declarers led a low diamond from dummy. At Table 1, East unhesitantly followed suit with the five spot and declarer’s Jack drove out West’s ace.
After that the defenders had only an academic interest in the proceedings. Whatever West returned, declarer could drive out East’s diamond king at his leisure and make no fewer than nine tricks.
At Table 2, the East player had both the imagination and the courage to strike a blow on his own account.
When the low diamond was led from dummy, this East did not attempt to play the ostrich where his diamond king was concerned, he put it right up. He realized of course, that this might cost his side trick-West might have the jack, not the ace -but East also realized that the one hope of defeating the contract was to win the lead and then find South with some club holding that would be vulnerable to a lead through.
When the diamond king held the trick and the club Jack was returned, declarer’s position became hopeless. He tried to finesse the club queen of course, but it lost and the club return by West meant that declarer could n0t win a single diamond trick. Even though he guessed which way to finesse for the heart queen he went down two tricks.
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