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Bridge 12/08

More spots for finding points

In yesterday's deal, declarer had to use his spade spots carefully, keeping the three to lead to dummy's four on the fourth round of the suit. This deal also requires shrewd spade-spot handling.
    How would you play in six spades after West leads the diamond two?
North's four clubs was a splinter bid, announcing four-card spade support, the values for game, and a singleton or void in clubs. South checked that his partner had two aces, then bid six spades.
    It is tempting to play a club at trick two. But if you do that, East will take the trick and give his partner a diamond ruff. Instead, you should aim for these 12 tricks: four spades, three hearts, four diamonds and a heart ruff in your hand.
    If trumps are 3-2, you can draw them and claim. If they are 4-1, though, you will need to be careful. Start with dummy's spade ace. Now, if you think East has four spades, play a spade to your king. But that diamond lead should make you very suspicious. A defender will not normally lead a suit bid by an opponent. It is even less likely against a slam. The diamond two smells strongly of a singleton. And if it is, West will not have a singleton spade. So, continue with dummy's spade queen and when East discards, unblock your nine. Then, play a heart to your ace, return a heart to dummy's queen, and ruff the heart eight with your spade king. Now lead your carefully retained spade three (or four) to dummy's eight, remove West's final trump, and claim, conceding one club trick at the end.

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