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Bridge 10/21

Only hunt her when it is necessary

Now that fall had taken hold, the leaves on the trees were blazing the maroons, oranges, yellows and reds that everyone loves. But with an early snowfall in the forecast, the Senior Life Master's class was filled to capacity.
    A topic that enjoys popularity with many bridge teachers (began the SLM) is cherchez la reine. You have a two-way finesse for a queen and apparently must find that queen.
    Sometimes the bidding will point you in the right direction. At other times, working out the full distribution will tell you that, say, East has three cards opposite his partner's singleton, ending your problem.
    But the most interesting deals are like my first example. (The students could see only the North and South hands in today's diagram.) How would you plan the play in six hearts? West leads the club ace, which you ruff.
    After giving them a minute to decide, the SLM continued.
    At first glance, you might lose one spade and one diamond. But not if you play correctly. Lead a trump to the board, ruff the club queen, and draw the remaining trumps. Then play off dummy's diamond king before leading a diamond off the board. If East discards, win with your ace and play a third diamond to endplay West. He must either lead a spade into your ace-queen or concede a ruff-and-sluff. Here, though, when East follows with a low diamond, finesse. If the finesse loses, West is endplayed as just mentioned. And if the finesse wins, you can try the spade finesse for an overtrick.
    Always take the full deal into account.

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