Benjamin Franklin said, “Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry, all things easy.”

Not always! At the bridge table, sometimes you need to speed, trying to win tricks as quickly as possible. At other times, it will be better to slow down and wait for tricks to germinate.

This deal was played in a knockout teams match. Each declarer was in four spades, and both Wests led the diamond jack. What should the Souths have done?

North responded with a forcing one-no-trump. He planned to rebid three spades to invite game with three-card support, but he upgraded for the nine-card or better fit.

Each South saw that he would lose tricks to the black-suit aces, so he could afford one heart loser, but not two. The first declarer took two heart finesses and grumbled when both lost.

The second declarer realized that hearts could wait. He ruffed a diamond at trick two, then played a trump to the nine. East won with his ace and exited with his second trump. South took the trick on the board, ruffed its remaining diamond and led the club king. West won with his ace and continued with the club jack, but declarer won with dummy’s queen and ruffed the last club in his hand. With no minor-suit cards left in his hand or on the board, South ran the heart queen. It lost, but East was endplayed. If he led a minor, declarer would have sluffed a heart from hand and ruffed on the board; or, if East played a heart, it was away from the jack. South succeeded with slow-th!

United Feature Syndicate

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