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Bridge 4/13

It is unlucky for very few

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Today is Friday the 13th — considered unlucky by some. But it will prove to be unlucky for very few of them, if any.
Sometimes we get unlucky at the bridge table — all finesses lose, for example. But occasionally we end a deal saying to ourselves that it was unlucky, when either we misplayed or an opponent did something particularly clever. In the first instance, we must try to learn from the experience and not make the same mistake again. In the second, we should congratulate our opponent.
    In this deal, take the West cards. Defending against two spades, you lead the heart queen: six, eight, two. What would you do now?
    Suppose you continue with the heart 10: seven, three, five. What would you do next?
    Note that North's two-spade rebid shows only two-card support. With three spades, he would have raised one spade to two spades on the previous round.
    There is a natural temptation to lead a third heart, hoping East began with only three. That, though, would be fatal against a capable declarer with this layout. He would ruff and immediately play three rounds of clubs. The defenders could take two diamond tricks and play a third round, but South would ruff, trump his last club with dummy's spade 10, and draw trumps.
    You have a counter if you anticipate the club ruff — and your strong club holding is an indication of declarer's likely plan. At trick three (or two), shift to a trump. Then, when you get in on the third round of clubs, you can lead another trump to kill both declarer's club ruff and his contract.
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