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Bridge 8/9

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Posted: August 8, 2007 2:54 p.m.
Updated: August 23, 2007 5:00 a.m.
    Instructive points arise with high frequency at bridge tables around the world. It is just that sometimes these points are easier to see in carefully constructed deals.
    However, this deal, which occurred in a social game in St. Louis, should not defeat many defenders. South is in four hearts. You are East. Your partner leads the diamond nine. How would you plan the defense?
    South opened two hearts, a weak two-bid promising a decent six-card suit and some 5-10 high-card points. After North took a shot at four hearts, your double just said that you had too many points to pass, but no long suit to show. You could have had anything from a reasonable three-suiter short in hearts to a balanced hand worth at least a strong no-trump opening. West was expected to pass with a balanced hand — as he did, admittedly with considerable trepidation — or to bid a long suit.
    If West had led a spade, heart or club, declarer would have had 10 tricks: two spades, six hearts (with the aid of a winning finesse) and two clubs. But West led the higher card from his doubleton.
    With the eight on the board, East realized that this was a singleton or from a doubleton. So he won with his diamond queen, cashed the diamond ace, and continued with the diamond king, West discarding the club three. What did East do now?
    West had discouraged in clubs, so declarer probably had no side-suit losers left. There was only one hope: Lead that last diamond. And it promoted a heart trick for the defense.
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