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Bridge 2/8

Are you a pessimist or an optimist?

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Posted: February 7, 2007 4:54 p.m.
Updated: February 22, 2007 5:00 a.m.
Albert Schweitzer said, "An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight. ... The truly wise person is colorblind."
    Most bridge players are optimists, always assuming suits will split favorably and finesses will work half the time — and they are right far too often. But every now and then, the pessimist will get the good result that his careful play deserves — as in this deal.
    You are South, in three no-trump. West leads the club queen to your king. What is your plan?
    West is a tad light for a takeout double, but his distribution is perfect. North should not let West's double affect his response. And although three diamonds would not be "wrong," South is justified in rebidding two no-trump.
    Many players would cash the diamond ace at trick two — then grumble at great length about their bad luck.
    Given West's double, it is optimistic to hope for a 2-2 or 3-1 diamond break. Be a pessimist and worry about a 4-0 split.
    At trick two, lead the diamond nine (or eight) from your hand. Presumably East will win and return a club. You take that, cross to dummy in either major, and call for a diamond. If East plays low, you win with your eight (or nine) and claim. Alternatively, if East puts up a diamond honor, you win, return to dummy in the other major, and play a diamond to your eight (or nine), again taking nine tricks.
    In this deal, the pessimist optimistically hopes for a 4-0 diamond division, because then his careful play will be necessary.
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