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Bridge 8/24

Who has that stray bullet?

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    A convicted murderer was about to be executed by a firing squad. When asked if he had a last request, he replied, "Why, yes -- a bulletproof vest."
    It is impressive that he could summon a sense of humor at that moment.
    In card games, an ace is sometimes called a bullet. And in this deal, you not only have to find the trump bullet, but must also hope the opponent you choose has it doubleton.
    The contract is three spades. West starts the defense by cashing the heart ace, king and queen. He shifts at trick four to a club, and you capture East's queen with your ace. How would you proceed from there?
    North, although he has only 13 high-card points, is just worth his three-spade rebid. Counting two points for his singleton gets him into the 15-17 range for his call. His hand has six losers, which is the right number for the jump raise. Note also that North is showing an unbalanced hand, because with a balanced 15-17 he would have opened one no-trump.
    This contract is far from certain. But since West had nine high-card points in hearts, you should guess that East has the spade ace. It's not bulletproof, but the odds lean that way.
    Play a diamond to the board, then lead a spade to your queen. If it loses to the ace, you are going down. But let's assume that you win the trick. Now you should return a spade and play low from the board. If East has to win with the ace, your contract is safe. You can draw West's remaining trump, ruff one club on the board, and discard the other two on dummy's high diamonds.
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