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Bridge 10/3

You turn one way or the other

     An unknown person said, "Our children seem to have wonderful taste, or none -- depending, of course, on whether or not they agree with us." Surely that does not apply only to children. The right line of play in this deal depends on what happens at trick one. You are in three no-trump. West leads a low spade. What would be your plan? Note North's response. When you have that strong a hand with a good five-card suit, show it. If partner has extras, you might well have a slam. Settling for a response of two no-trump or three no-trump, depending on your methods, is slam-negative and should deny a five-card suit. Remember, we are happy to bid slam in a minor suit. It is game in a minor we try to avoid, steering instead toward three no-trump. The first thing you should do is call for dummy's spade king. What happens? Let's start by assuming that East has the ace. He takes the trick and returns a spade. You should duck this and win the next spade. Now, if West gets on lead again, it would be fatal to your contract if he started with five (or six) spades. So, cash your club king, then run the club nine. Win or lose, you have at least nine tricks: one spade, three hearts, one diamond and four clubs. Here, though, dummy's spade king wins the first trick. If East gets on play, he will fire a spade through your queen, killing your contract. You should play a club to your nine at trick two. Win or lose, you have at least those same nine tricks just listed.

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