One of bridge’s chicken-or-egg questions: Does bidding or card play have the greater influence on your results?
♠ Q J 7 6 2
♥ Q 9 8 5
♦ 10 3
♣ A Q
♠ 10 9 4
♠ A K 8 5 3
♥ K 6 4 3 2
♥ A 10 7
♦ Q J 7
♣ 10 2
♣ J 9 8 6 5
♦ A K 9 8 6 5 4 2
♣ K 7 4 3
Opening lead — ♠10
Many theorists would say that bidding judgment has more impact. In today’s deal, for example, some Easts would open 1♣, others would try 1♠. Depending on East’s action, the auction might develop in any number of ways.
South would bid diamonds, but how many would depend on his judgment. Regardless of East’s opening bid, I wouldn’t be eager to leap to 5♦ — a preemptive type of action — when I knew little about the deal and had defensive values. I might overcall a quiet one or two diamonds and listen. But when East opened 1♠, the actual South’s judgment told him to blast away.
West led the ♠10, and when dummy produced the ♣A Q, South’s blast seemed to be a winner. He covered with dummy’s jack, ruffed East’s king and cashed the ace of trumps.
When East discarded, South took the ♣A Q, ruffed a spade and led his last low club.
West ruffed in with the jack of trumps and led a heart. East won and led a fourth club, and West scored his queen of trumps, ruffing in front of dummy. Down one.
Whatever your view of South’s bidding judgment, his play determined the outcome. At trick two, South should lead the ♥J, breaking the defenders’ link. Say East wins and returns a heart, and South ruffs and takes the ♣A Q. He ruffs a spade and leads a low club. West can ruff, but South ruffs the spade return, draws trumps and has the rest.