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Bridge 10/12

Two chances are better than one

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Posted: October 11, 2007 5:03 p.m.
Updated: October 26, 2007 5:02 a.m.
    Yesterday, I mentioned that holding intermediate spot-cards —10s, nines and eights — is often beneficial. This deal, from a social game in Denver, provides another example. And it features a suit combination that many misplay.
    You are in four spades. West leads the club queen. How would you plan the play?
    North's response of two no-trump was the Jacoby Forcing Raise, showing at least four-card spade support and game-going values. South, with a minimum opening bid, signed off in four spades.
    An aggressive bidder sitting West would have made a takeout double over one spade. But it could serve little purpose, other than to help the opponents place the cards. East was a passed hand, the vulnerability was unfavorable, and the opponents seemed to own the spade suit. If so and they got to four spades, a sacrifice would have to be at the five-level, which rated to be expensive.
    The original declarer drew trumps, cashed dummy's other club, and called for the diamond queen. East did well, taking the trick with his ace and shifting to his heart five. South, thinking that he needed East to hold the heart king, put in his queen, but West took the trick with his king, and the contract had to go down one, declarer losing two hearts and two diamonds.
    South wasted the power of his heart nine. How could it hurt to insert his nine on East's switch? If it lost to West's 10 or jack, the finesse of the queen would still be available for later. Here, though, the nine would extract West's king, permitting declarer to claim.
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