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Friends to Follow

Bridge 2/17

Partner needs trust and a key card

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Muriel Fox said, "Women and men have to fight together to change society — and both will benefit. ... Partnership, not dependence, is the real romance in marriage."
    Working with your partner, whether your spouse at home or the person sitting across the bridge table, is a key — I am tempted to make that "the key" — to success and happiness. In this deal, East, to find the killing defense, has to trust his partner's plays. What would you do in his position? Against four spades, your partner leads the diamond king. How would you analyze the deal?
    North responded with a limit raise, inviting game with at least four spades. He showed eight losers and 10-12 support points (counting both high-card and shortage points).
Note West's opening salvo. Against suit contracts, it is usually better to lead from a short, strong holding than from a long, weak suit.
    Sitting East, you have no desire for partner to shift at trick two. Encourage a diamond continuation by dropping your 10, the highest spot-card that you can afford.
West continues with the diamond queen and diamond two. When everyone follows throughout, what would you lead at trick four?
    Here's where you must trust partner. If he had the club ace, he would have cashed it before leading his third diamond. Since he didn't, it means your side has taken all possible side-suit tricks. In this situation, do not be afraid to give a ruff-and-sluff. Lead the 13th diamond, hoping that it generates a trump trick for the defense — as it does here.
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