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Bridge 3/10

Resist temptation, avoid an error

Temptation. Mae West would avoid it unless it was irresistible. Oscar Wilde could resist anything but. And George Bernard Shaw never resisted it, because bad things did not tempt him.
    At the bridge table, a major temptation for a defender is to try to win a trick, regardless of the consequences. But before you rush to grab that winner, pause for a moment and try to decide if it might be better to delay.
You are West, defending against four spades. You open with the heart jack. Partner wins with his king, cashes the heart ace, and gives you a heart ruff. What would you lead now?
    South's one-spade response promised at least five spades. With only four, he would have made a negative double. So North raised spades in preference to rebidding one no-trump. (Note that three no-trump has no play after a low-heart lead by East.) Despite South's worrisome heart holding and diamond void, it was hard for him not to bid four spades. When we smell a game, we bid game.
    The defenders need one more trick. At the table or without my preamble, many players would be tempted to lead the diamond ace at trick four. But this is fatal. South ruffs, draws trumps, and discards his club losers on dummy's diamond winners.
    West should realize that if South has a diamond in his hand, it isn't going anywhere. The diamond ace can wait. Instead, West should exit with a black card, the club jack being the safest. Then declarer cannot avoid losing either a club trick or a club overruff.

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