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Bridge 2/2

It can be so easy to get careless

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A native American gave the following piece of advice to Hubert Humphrey: "Be careful in revising those immigration laws of yours. We got careless with ours."
    At the bridge table, be careful in following the "rules" — such carelessness may result in your contract being overrun, or your failing to defeat a contract.
    In this deal, take the East cards. Against three no-trump, your partner leads the club jack, king ... How would you defend?
    North is right to blast into three no-trump. It might have no play, it might be laydown, it might depend upon the defense. But if it makes, it pays a vulnerable game bonus.
There is a "rule" — return partner's lead. That is typically true in no-trump, but always think first. (Against a suit contract, this rule is right much less often.)
    What will happen if you lead back a club? Declarer will win with his club queen and run for home, here taking 10 tricks: three spades, six diamonds and one club.
You must shift to a heart.
    There is another "rule" — lead fourth-highest when you have at least one honor in a suit (and lead high without an honor). This is almost always right — but note that "almost." If you switch to a low heart here, South will probably play low from his hand and will have a heart stopper.
    Since you have dummy's heart 10 surrounded by your jack and nine, and you have a higher nontouching honor in the king, shift to the heart jack, the card above dummy's best. Now your side can take the first five tricks.
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