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Bridge 5/19

Count their tricks to count theirs

    Nido Qubein, a motivational speaker and president of High Point University in North Carolina, claims: "Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your energies on a limited set of targets."
    At the bridge table, both pairs have a limited target. The declarer must collect the number of tricks for which his side contracted. The defenders must win sufficient tricks to defeat that contract.
    When the dummy comes down, both sides should have their targets firmly in sight. The declarer counts winners and losers, and the defenders should ask themselves from where they might get the necessary number of tricks.
This deal is a good defensive example. You are East. Against four hearts, partner leads the club six, fourth-highest promising at least one honor in the suit. You take the trick with your ace and declarer drops the 10. What would you do next?
    South opened with a weak two-bid, showing a decent six-card suit and 5-10 high-card points.
Concentrate your energies on finding the four tricks you need to defeat four hearts. In clubs, you have at most two winners. In diamonds, none. In hearts, your king. So you must get a spade trick. If West has the spade ace, there are no problems. But if he has only the king, you should shift to a spade now, leading the nine to deny an honor in the suit. Here, this leaves declarer with no chance.
Note that returning a club at trick two lets the contract through. Since West cannot profitably attack spades, South can eliminate trumps and pitch his low spade on dummy's fourth diamond.

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