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Bridge 5/15

Think about the "unthinkable"

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Posted: May 14, 2007 6:14 p.m.
Updated: May 29, 2007 5:00 a.m.
J. William Fulbright, a senator from Arkansas who died in 1995, said, "We must dare to think 'unthinkable' thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world."
    At the bridge table, you occasionally need to think "unthinkable" thoughts — as in this deal. You are South, in six hearts. West leads the club jack. You win perforce on the board and call for a trump, East playing the queen. How would you continue from there? Did West have a more effective lead?
    Note North's initial response. With the values for a two-over-one call, he correctly bid his longest suit first. He would have responded one spade with only 6-10 points.
    South's three-no-trump rebid showed a balanced hand with 18 or 19 points, or perhaps a poor 20. This left North a tad stymied, wanting to invite a slam, but not sure how best to do it. After some thought, he jumped to five hearts, hoping his partner would think this was asking for good trumps. On the same wavelength, South raised to six hearts.
    To make the contract, you must let East take the second trick with his heart queen. Suppose East shifts to a spade. You win with your ace, ruff a club on the board, draw trumps, and run the diamonds. If you win the second trick, you will lose one heart and either one club or one spade.
    West defeats the contract with a diamond lead. The defenders can cut declarer off from dummy's diamonds. But who would find that?
    By thinking the "unthinkable," you make the makable.
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