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Bridge 3/15

Keep your eyes on the spots

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Have you ever seen spots in front of your eyes? Perhaps it happened when your photograph was taken using a flash. Or, at the bridge table, maybe you held an array of noncourt cards. One of the key skills of a bridge expert is making maximum use of his spot-cards. This deal is an excellent example. South was in four spades. West led the diamond three. South, hoping the lead was away from the queen, called for dummy's jack, then took East's queen with his ace. How did South continue?
    Some Norths would respond one no-trump, especially if playing the bid as forcing for one round (a popular treatment in the tournament world). They plan to rebid two spades, showing only two-card support or a really weak three-card raise. If North did that here, maybe South would rebid three no-trump, a contract that cannot be defeated.
    Declarer had only nine sure tricks: five spades, one heart, two diamonds and one club. The best bet for a 10th was to find East with the heart king. But South needed dummy entries so that he could lead toward his heart queen, and eventually could reach the heart ace.
    After winning trick one, declarer played his spade five to dummy's nine. East took the trick and shifted to a club. South won, led his spade six to dummy's 10, and called for a heart. East went in with his king and played another club, West winning with his king and returning a diamond. Declarer won in his hand, cashed the heart queen, overtook his spade two with dummy's three, and discarded his last diamond on the heart ace.
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