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Bridge 11/01

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    Robert Morley, an English actor, director and playwright, said, "Beware of the conversationalist who adds 'in other words.' He is merely starting afresh."
    At the bridge table, we start afresh when we pick up our cards. And after the auction, the card play begins anew. With a reasonable frequency, the opening lead decides the fate of a contract — as in this deal. What start by West might beat four spades?
    On the second round, many tournament players with that North hand would double to show three spades (the so-called support double). East, with four-card diamond support, raised despite his zero-count and the prevailing unfavorable vulnerability — some players know no fear. South rebid three hearts, West tried four diamonds, and North admitted to three-card spade support.
    When the deal was originally played, West led the diamond ace and continued with his diamond king. Declarer ruffed and played the spade king from his hand. West took the trick and tried the effect of a third diamond, but South ruffed on the board and led another trump. Declarer ruffed the next diamond, removed West's final spade, and claimed.
    The only winning start is West's club. Declarer takes the trick on the board and leads a spade to his jack, but West wins with his queen. Now comes a play that requires courage, and would be very hard to find if East had passed throughout. West shifts to his diamond three! East will be surprised to take the trick with his 10, but should not be so shocked that he fails to find the club return, which West ruffs. The defenders collect three spades and one diamond for down one.
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