Author: Michael Berkowitz
Date of publish: 11/05/2021
Level: General Interest
Procrastination is one of my better skills. In school, it was amazing how often my "sick days" coincided with the due dates of big project. Why not work ahead of time? That's a question for my therapist.
Instead I'll share my proudest procrastination moment: the summer talent show. I was dreading the talent show that traditionally happened the last night of camp at our outdoor amphitheater. Everyone had to participate. I had no talent. I had been meaning to practice juggling. I could, occasionally, catch one ball. I was sweating bullets, as sunset came. And just as I was headed out to face ultimate humiliation, the crack of thunder saved me as the skies opened.
While procrastinating in life isn't such a useful skill, it can be really helpful at the bridge table.
You are South. Both Vulnerable. You hold:
You have a monster hand. Maybe opening 2 is best. Maybe 1 and then a jump-shift or jump to 4. Whatever path you choose, you wind up in 6 (let's skip over the bidding--you don't learn anything from your opponents today).
The lead is the Q and you get to see dummy.
What's your plan?
You have no spade losers and no heart losers, but you have one potential diamond losers and one club loser. The question is: what do you throw at trick one?
The answer is that you shouldn't pitch anything on trick one. You can take finesses in both diamonds or clubs. If you throw away a diamond or a club, you limit your options. Instead, ruff the lead and draw trump. Next, lead a low club towards the KQ. If West has the A, you'll be home free. If they win it, you can throw two diamonds--one on the extra club and one on the A. If they duck, you'll win this trick and throw away a CLUB on the A. Now you can take a diamond finesse (and hope East has Kx and you can make 7), but are guaranteed 6. This position is sometimes called a Morton's Fork Coup-- West is stuck with two losing options, or roasted on Morton's Fork.
If East wins the A, then you need the king of diamonds to be onside. You don't need the miracle position, though as you can throw the low diamond on the A. Relying on one of two finesses is much better than just needing the diamond king onside.
The full deal: