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Bridge 10/19

Picture the one winning layout

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Posted: October 18, 2006 5:48 p.m.
Updated: October 26, 2006 5:00 a.m.
Fred R. Barnard claimed that one picture is worth a thousand words. At the bridge table, although a picture — of the opposing hands — may be worth only one trick, that can be the difference between success and failure.
    Take this deal as an example. Against your four-spade contract, West leads the diamond queen and continues with the diamond jack. East overtakes with his king and tries to cash the ace, but you ruff. Next, thinking everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds, you cash the spade ace. East's club discard is a rude shock. Can you picture a layout that will allow you to avoid losing two spade tricks?
    East's double over one no-trump is takeout of spades: short spades, length in the other three suits. South's jump to four spades looks a tad optimistic with 15 high-card points, but his hand has only five losers (one spade, two hearts and two diamonds). Also, be aggressive in getting to game.
There is one winning snapshot. At trick 11, you must have the K-10-9 of spades left and West his Q-J-3. This requires ruffing two clubs in your hand. You must hope that West started with exactly 4-3-3-3 distribution.
    Unblock the club ace, play a heart to the board, ruff a club in your hand, return to dummy with a heart, trump another club, and cash the heart ace. The winning position has been reached. Lead the spade 10 from your hand. After West takes the trick with his jack, he must play away from his Q-3 into your K-9.
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