Do you want to be a hero? by Zia Mahmood


the guardian The Guardian,

Do you want to be a hero? You take the South cards on today’s deal from high-stake rubber bridge, and find out:

AKQJ8643 8652 5.

At love all, your partner opens the bidding with a pre-emptive three diamonds and the next hand overcalls a natural four clubs. You bid four spades, and the hand on your left bids six clubs. When this comes back to you, will you bid on?

If you do bid six spades, you will be doubled in it, and if partner has some help in the heart suit you may get out for three down; otherwise you will go four down for a penalty of 800 less 100 for honours. This will be a good sacrifice if the opponents can make six clubs – but why should they? Both of them might have the values they’ve indicated by their bidding; on the other hand, they may be trying to stampede you into a phantom sacrifice. You do have some prospects of defeating the slam – if you can put partner on lead at the first trick, for example, he can give you a diamond ruff. So you pass. Now, how to put partner on lead?

If partner has a void in spades, or the ten, the lead of a low spade will accomplish what you desire unless an opponent is void. Of course, if he doesn’t, you will have given declarer a trick and possibly the contract. If you are going to lead a high spade, it should be the jack – then, if partner does have a void, he will ruff, whereas if you lead the ace or king he may not. Make your choice.

Perhaps Tina Turner was right after all when she sang, «We don’t need another hero.»