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Bridge 11/18

When the wheels come loose

Sometimes we say that the wheels have come off. But occasionally they are only loose. If you drive erratically, the loose wheels will fall off and you will crash. If you steer carefully, though, you will safely reach the garage.
    In this deal, your bidding definitely came off the rails, ending in a shaky six spades instead of a laydown six diamonds. West leads the heart 10. You win on the board, perforce, and cash the king-queen of spades, everyone following. What next?
    North's two-club opening was thin, but he did not like his choice of rebid if he opened one diamond and you responded one of a major. Your two-no-trump response showed a balanced hand with at least eight points. Then, when you rebid three spades, North should have known that it was only a four-card suit and not raised, but continued with four diamonds. After that, though, it is not clear what would have happened.
    You have 11 top tricks: four spades, one heart and six diamonds. With iffy communications, you must get your 12th trick in clubs. But if you finish drawing trumps, when you lose a trick to the club ace, the defenders will cash some hearts.
    At trick four, you must establish that club trick by leading the queen from the dummy. If West wins and plays a heart, you ruff on the board, lead a club to your king, draw the trumps (discarding dummy's last club), and run the diamonds.
    Note that if you lead a club to your king at trick four, West wins and returns a heart, stranding you on the board.

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