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Bridge 5/9

Another puzzling deal puzzle

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Posted: May 8, 2007 5:20 p.m.
Updated: May 23, 2007 5:00 a.m.
Chinese philosopher Laotzu wrote, "To have little is to possess. To have plenty is to be perplexed."
    In this deal, North and South possess plenty of high cards, but many players would feel perplexed when they failed to bring home such an easy looking six-spade contract.
    What would be your line after West leads the heart jack to your ace?
    The auction has a modern texture. North's four-club rebid is a splinter. It promises four-card spade support, the values for game and at most a singleton club. South, whose hand has suddenly improved, uses Roman Key Card Blackwood. North shows the trump queen and two key cards (one ace and the trump king, or two aces).
    There are 12 clear tricks: four spades, three hearts, four diamonds and one club. You only have to draw trumps. That will not be a problem if they are splitting 2-2 or 3-1, so spend plenty of time thinking about an unfriendly 4-0 break.
    If East has all four spades, you will lose two trump tricks. But if West has all four, you can pick them up by keeping dummy's queen and king to possess — capture — West's nine and 10. At trick two, lead the spade jack from your hand. West will win with his ace and East will discard. Let's suppose West exits with a heart to dummy's queen. Play a diamond to your king and lead a spade. West will probably put in his nine, so take the trick with dummy's queen, play a club to your ace, finesse dummy's spade seven, cash the spade king, and claim.
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