Author: Michael Berkowitz
Date of publish: 06/16/2020
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
It will surprise no one that I went through a magic phase. It started with a great uncle who was fond of the “Oh look a quarter” behind the ear trick. I remember being so excited when he pulled a coin from thin air that I starting squealing with joy.
I also remember bawling when he made it disappear. I think that may not have been the reaction he intended.
The end result was that he quickly made many more quarters appear.
Players worry too much about tricks disappearing. Frequently, a trick that looks like it’s disappearing, can come back with interest.
You are West.
You lead the
Q against 4
. Partner follows with the
8 and declarer wins the
Now declarer leads the
9 towards dummy. What do you do?
Too many players panic. Yes, this feels like a singleton. Does that mean you should take your ace?
If this is a singleton, you are trading one trick (the
A for two tricks--the
KQ). Look at the full deal:
It turns out you’re giving up not just 2, but three diamonds since partner holds the J and 10 and dummy’s 8 becomes high. Here, it doesn't matter as long as you cashed your heart tricks, but all you will take are two hearts and a diamond.
If you play low, you won't take the diamond trick, but you’ll take two clubs and two hearts.
If you go up with the ace, figuring dummy’s diamonds are good anyway, declarer can win once you play a club, draw trump and throw away two club losers to make.
Memory is a burden here. We stay up at night remembering times when we didn't take a trick with an ace. We don't tend to stay up at night for having taken the ace too early, but it's a more frequent mistake and often more costly.