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Bridge 2/22

Bottom of touchers imparts information

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Posted: February 21, 2007 4:47 p.m.
Updated: March 8, 2007 5:00 a.m.
David Russell said, "We live in a Newtonian world of Einsteinian physics ruled by Frankenstein logic."
    Yes! But in the bridge world, we follow our own logic. In particular, defenders need to follow some card-play conventions. This is one of the most important: When going third hand high, put onto the table the bottom of equivalent cards. So, from K-Q-8-2, play the queen, not the king.
    Why? This deal will answer that question.
    After South opens one spade, West might make a thin takeout double. (This would be clear-cut if his spade ace were interchanged with any of his low cards, giving 10 points outside spades.) North raises to two spades, of course. Then South, adding three shortage points for his singleton, jumps to the spade game.
    West guesses well to lead the heart two, not the diamond three.
    When East puts up the heart jack and South wins with his ace, West knows that East has the heart queen. (If South had the ace and queen of hearts, why would he win the trick with the ace instead of the queen?) Declarer will probably cash the club ace, then play a trump. West wins with his bare ace and knows to continue hearts, getting two defensive tricks in that suit. A moment later, West's diamond king will be the setting trick.
    Note that if East incorrectly plays the heart queen at trick one, West will try to get his partner on lead for a heart play through declarer's (theoretical) jack. Suppose West shifts to a diamond. Declarer wins on the board, draws the last trump, and discards a loser on the club king.
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