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Bridge 10/16

Plan at trick one, not later

    When you are the declarer and the dummy has been tabled, on average how long do you take to call for a card from the board?
    Unless the play is trivial, you should take at least 30 seconds, probably as much as a minute. The more planning you do at the beginning, the better.
    With that helpful hint, how would you plan the play in this five-club contract? West leads the spade ace.
    West’s takeout double was reasonable, although a few would have preferred to bid one heart, immediately telling partner about the five-card major and hoping to double later to bring the pointed suits into the picture. Then, West’s three-heart rebid was understandable. He knew that his partner would realize from the opponents’ bidding that he was weaker in high-card terms than would be normal.
    At trick one, you must unblock the spade queen. If East has all four clubs, which would not be a big surprise, you need three dummy entries to take a trio of trump finesses. You have the two top diamonds, but the spade jack must be the third. If you fail to unblock, West can shift to a red suit and stop that spade jack from becoming an entry. But after playing the spade queen, suppose West shifts to a heart. You win in hand and lead a spade toward the board. West can win and try a second heart, but you take it, play a spade to the jack, and take a club finesse. When West discards, you twice cross to the board in diamonds and take two more club finesses to wrap up your game.

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