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Bridge 6/28

A discard can make a difference

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    We are studying eliminating losers in suit contracts. If you have a winner in one hand opposite a void in the other, you can cash that winner and discard a loser. Note, though, that it makes a difference which hand you take that discard from. If you throw a loser from your hand, your worries are over. But if you pitch from the board, you must then ruff on the board the loser that is still in your hand.
    You push into seven spades, and West leads the diamond queen. How would you proceed?
    North's raise to three spades promises some values, typically 5-7 points. This persuades you to launch into Blackwood. (Note that you must ask for aces, although you have all four, before inquiring for kings. An immediate jump to five no-trump is something different — please don't ask!)
    When you are in a grand slam, there is little point in counting losers. Here, though, you have only 12 winners: five spades, three hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. You are faced with a potential diamond loser. But you have three top hearts in your hand and only a doubleton on the board. You can discard dummy's diamond loser, then ruff your third diamond on the board.
    Win the first trick on the board, draw two rounds of trumps, leaving dummy's king intact, and take your three heart tricks, discarding a diamond from the dummy. Then, cash your diamond ace and ruff your last diamond with the board's spade king. Return to your hand with a club, draw East's last trump, and claim.
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