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Bridge 9/21

Play the card you are known to hold

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Posted: September 20, 2007 5:38 p.m.
Updated: October 5, 2007 5:00 a.m.
    It can be important to play the right card to a trick. For example, suppose you are stuck in your hand, looking at a K-Q-J-10-9 suit. If you would really like the opponent with the ace to take it immediately, lead the king from your hand. If you would prefer to sneak a round past the ace, though, lead the nine.
    This deal is a variation on that theme. You are South, the declarer in four spades, East having overcalled in hearts. West leads the heart five. What would be your plan?
    Some pairs play that opener's jump rebid after a two-over-one response requires a solid suit and sets it as trumps. This pair was using the more traditional meaning: at least a good six-card suit and 15-plus high-card points.
    At trick one, when East wins with his heart ace, you must smoothly drop your king — the card you are known to hold. If you play the three, East will realize that his partner led a singleton, because if West had had the doubleton king-five, he would have led the king, not the five.
    If you drop your heart three, East will continue with the heart nine, his highest spot being a suit-preference signal for diamonds, the higher-ranking of the other two side suits. West will ruff the trick, lead his diamond seven to his partner's ace, and another heart through will promote West's spade queen as the setting trick.
    But if you play the heart king at trick one, East might think that that is the singleton and shift to, say, the club queen. He should not, but he might. It is your only chance.
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