Article 7H65 Main

Man’s Best Friend

 by Richard Pavlicek

“How can you open that dog!” South ranted after going down in 3 NT. “It’s not an opening bid in anyone’s book.”

“It is in my book,” North retaliated. “I have 13 points, 12 in high cards and one for distribution.”

“But you don’t have two defensive tricks! And your spot cards are all deuces — kind of like your brain.
What’s your book called? Dogmeat On Bidding?

“No, but I know what to name your book!”

North dealsS Q J 4 3 2WestNorthEastSouth
None vulH A J 21 SPass2 NT
D K J 2Pass3 NTPassPass
C 4 3Pass
S A 6 5TableS 9 8 7
H 10 9 8 6H K 5 3
D 9 5D 10 8 7 6
C A J 9 6C Q 8 7
S K 10
H Q 7 4
D A Q 4 3
3 NT SouthC K 10 5 2

When the heart finesse lost to East’s king, he wisely shifted to the C 7; 10, jack; then a low club went to the queen and king. There was no hope without the spade suit, but West grabbed the first spade and took the setting tricks in clubs. Too bad.

South’s new book will be called Dogmeat On Play. The heart finesse was foolish because a club shift is obvious in view of dummy. By winning the H A and starting spades, declarer has the timing on his side and the contract is unbeatable. When West takes the S A he can put his partner in with a heart, but South simply covers any club lead to lose at most four tricks.

The underlying principle (or should I say dogma) is to consider the full layout, not just a single suit, when deciding your line of play. The heart finesse might be obvious looking at six cards, but declarer was dealt a lot more than that.

Article 7H65 MainTop Man’s Best Friend

© 1997 Richard Pavlicek