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Bridge 5/1

If it is necessary, assume it will be

Raoul Vaneigem, a Belgian writer and philosopher, claims: "In an industrial society that confuses work and productivity, the necessity of producing has always been an enemy of the desire to create."
    I am not sure that the fashion industry would agree with that. But this is May Day, when several countries have celebrations for labor movements.
    At the bridge table, we work to produce tricks. During the auction, one side says how many it will collect, then, of necessity, must do that if it wishes to record a plus score. Sometimes, though, it will appear that defeat is inevitable. When that happens, try to find a distribution that, however unlikely, would allow you to make your contract.
    In this deal, you are South, in six spades. West leads the diamond jack to your ace. What would you do?
    North's jump to four spades showed at least four-card support, but denied any first- or second-round control. South, hoping to find the trump queen opposite, bid a small slam. If only he had been using Roman Key Card Blackwood, he could have found out that the spade queen was having a day off work, and he could have stopped in five spades.
    With no dummy entry, there is only one chance to make six spades -- an opponent must hold a singleton spade queen. A priori, this is a 12.4 percent possibility. (A singleton ace is no use to you, because the opponent who began with queen-third will collect a second trump trick.) So, at trick two, lead the spade king from your hand and hope that your luck is working.

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