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Bridge 8/22

The third takes some thinking

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    If you play chess, to find the best move, you must think of it. And at the bridge table, to find the correct call or card, you must think of it. Consider as many possibilities as possible.
In this deal, there are several possible lines of play in three no-trump after West leads a spade. What are they? Which is best?
    On the second round of the auction, North had an unpleasant rebid. He did not want to call two hearts with such a weak five-card suit. And to bid no-trump required a spade stopper. So he was left with raising to three diamonds. South, though, knowing that nine tricks are usually easier to win than 11, plumped for three no-trump.
    South has six top tricks. He could immediately play a club to the board, hoping for either a 3-3 club split or the diamond finesse to work. Note that this would fail with this layout.
    Or he could cross to dummy with a heart and take the diamond finesse — also unsuccessful.
    Or he could make the contract with a third plan! Based on the bidding, East was almost certain to hold the club ace. South should play a heart to dummy's king, then call for the club three. How can East defend?
    If East wins with his club ace and returns a spade, South collects two spades, two hearts, two diamonds and three clubs. Alternatively, if East plays a low club, South takes the trick with his queen, then turns to diamonds (throwing dummy's jack under the king on the second round, just in case they are breaking 4-1), winning two spades, two hearts, four diamonds and one club.
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