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Bridge 6/14

A sweet sequence of bids and plays

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    Do you think bridge is an art, or a science?
    I believe it is a mixture of both. More often it is a science — bridge is a logical game. Occasionally, though, its artistic side appears, when a beautiful sequence of plays leads to the success of a contract that appeared doomed; or, but much less frequently, a beautiful sequence of defensive plays defeats a contract that seemed destined to succeed.
    This deal has its artistic side. What do you think of the auction? How should South plan the play in six spades after West leads the heart queen?
    The auction was fine. North, with a ruffing value in his singleton and a minimum opening, was correct to raise one spade to two spades, not to rebid two clubs. Then South did well to avoid mentioning his clubs, since six clubs should fail. Note also that asking for kings would not have helped.
    There is a natural reaction to assume that one of the black queens will appear singleton or doubleton, which would make the contract trivial. But the artist in South should persuade him to look for a winning line when neither queen is dropping so soon. Declarer should try to make use of dummy's diamond suit, establishing a third trick in the suit.
    This is a sensible line: heart ace, spade king, diamond to dummy's king, diamond ace (pitching a club), diamond ruff, spade to dummy's ace, diamond ruff. Whether West overruffs or discards, declarer will trump his second heart on the board and throw his last low club on the 13th diamond.
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