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Friends to Follow

Bridge 2/14

Husbands and wives in the same hand

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John Donne wrote, "Hail, Bishop Valentine, whose day this is, / All the air is thy Diocese."
    On Valentine's Day, it seems only appropriate to have a deal in which the kings and queens of each suit are in the same hand, married couples happily together. And, of course, the trump suit has to be hearts -- what else?
    If you were South, the declarer in six hearts, how would you plan the play after West leads the spade two?
    It was reasonable for North immediately to launch into Blackwood. When he found out that one ace was missing, he bid six hearts. (For experts: Even if you use Roman Key Card Blackwood, an immediate response of four no-trump ought to be played as regular Blackwood, not RKCB. To employ RKCB, the responder should first show support for his partner's suit, then bid four no-trump.)
    There seem to be no problems, but look at that lead. Since West cannot have a spade honor (a low lead usually promises at least one honor in that suit), he has probably led a singleton. If so and you promptly play a trump, maybe East will win with the bare ace and give his partner a spade ruff, killing your contract and breaking your partner's heart.
    Instead, after taking the first trick (the flamboyant would win on the board), unblock your diamond ace, cross to the board with a club, and discard your second spade — the ace! — on the diamond king. Then play a trump. You are safe unless one defender started with the two low trumps and a singleton club, which is extremely unlikely.
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