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Friends to Follow

Bridge 2/7

It is fun to play honors unnecessarily

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"The American Heart Association Cookbook" contains this interesting piece of advice: "Eat before shopping. If you go to the store hungry, you are likely to make unnecessary purchases." Hmm.
    Many people enjoy shopping, especially when the purchases are, strictly speaking, unnecessary. And bridge players, whether hungry or not, derive great pleasure from playing "unnecessary" honor cards.
    In this deal, you reach four spades. West leads the club nine. Thinking you have 10 top tricks, you win in your hand with the ace and cash the spade ace, but East unkindly discards a heart. How would you continue?
    Note the one-no-trump opening. It immediately describes your hand to partner. If you open one club, your rebid will be misleading one way or another.
    North might have raised to three no-trump, which would have cruised home here, but with a low doubleton, he understandably used Stayman to try to uncover a 4-4 spade fit.
    It looks tempting to try to cash those 10 apparent tricks. But if you do that, West will ruff the third heart and shift to diamonds. Instead, immediately take your remaining club tricks and -- this is necessary -- discard a heart honor from the dummy. (If West ruffs the third club, overruff on the board and hope he has at least three hearts.)
    In this way, you need West to hold only two hearts. You take those heart winners, cross to your hand with a spade, and ruff your last heart on the board, overruffing West if necessary. You take four spades, two hearts, three clubs and the ruff on the board.
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