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Bridge 11/22

There are 25 ways to beat declarer

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Canadian Barbara Seagram has again joined forces with Englishman David Bird to produce another well-written "25" book: "25 Ways to Be a Better Defender" (Master Point Press).
    In the first third of the book, they cover the basics — the plays that work on most deals. Then the authors expound visualizing the hidden hands. And they end with seven more-advanced topics. Each chapter concludes with a quick quiz.
    This deal is from the middle section. Look only at the West and North hands. Against four spades, you lead the heart ace: three, four, seven. How would you continue?
    North's immediate three-spade raise with only three trumps is WRONG. North should either bid two clubs, planning to support spades at the minimum level on the second round (if using traditional Standard American), or respond one no-trump forcing, intending to rebid three spades (if employing modern methods).
    Look closely at the hearts. The missing cards are the queen, jack and two. What could East hold? With Q-J-4, he would have played the queen. With J-4-2, he would have dropped the two. With J-2, he would have started an echo (high-low) with his jack. So East must have started with Q-4, Q-4-2, 4-2 or singleton 4.
    This means that it cannot cost to continue with the heart king. And when partner plays the two, you lead a third round. Here East ruffs, and a moment later, he collects the club king to defeat the contract.
    The book is available from Baron Barclay Bridge Supplies. Call (800) 274-2221 to order.
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