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Bridge 5/4

A combination that requires what?

Arnold Palmer said, "Concentration comes out of a combination of confidence and hunger."
    Presumably he meant hunger from a desire to be successful, not hunger from a lack of food in one's stomach.
    The key to this deal is the handling of a suit combination. How would you play in two no-trump after West leads the club jack and East puts up the king? What do you think of the auction?
    Taking the putt before the drive, the auction is fine. West opens with one club, of course. North has a clear-cut takeout double, being short in clubs and having length in the other three suits. It is particularly sweet to have two four-card majors. South's jump to two no-trump shows some 10-12 high-card points and a decent club holding. North passes because he has only 12 points.
    You start with five top tricks (instant winners): one heart, two diamonds and two clubs (given trick one). You need three more tricks. Since the hearts are splitting 3-3, you could eventually get an extra heart trick and two spade tricks, but you do not have the time for that approach. West will establish and run his club suit, taking one spade, two hearts and four clubs.
    Instead, go for three spade tricks. This might require a 3-3 break, but you can also succeed if West has the singleton or doubleton ace. After taking trick one, lead a low spade to dummy's queen. When that holds (as you know it will), return to your hand with a diamond and play another spade. Here, West's ace pops up and everything is rosy.

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