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Bridge 11/07

With two plays, make the only one

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    Often at the bridge table you will be faced with an either-or predicament. Maybe you are undecided whether to win a trick or to duck it. If you consider both options, you will probably realize which is the correct play — or that it does not matter what you do.
    At rarer times, though, you seem to have two choices, but only one will be correct.
    You are South, the declarer in five diamonds after East opened with a weak two-bid, showing a decent six-card suit and 6-10 high-card points. West leads his heart six. Plan the play.
    At first glance, you have only two losers: the red-suit aces. But if East is reliable, West must have started with a singleton heart. So the defense is presumably going to start with a heart to the ace and a heart ruff. And since it is unlikely West will have to ruff with a singleton diamond ace, that would result in your contract being defeated.
    Is there any hope?
    Yes, if you smoothly drop your heart king under East's ace.
    What will East think?
    That you started with a singleton heart, not his partner.
    If he draws that conclusion, he will surely shift to the spade jack. Then you win with your ace and play a trump (if East had the ace, he would have opened one heart). You ruff West's spade king, draw the last trump, and run the clubs, discarding your second heart on the third one. (And cast a glance toward East when you pitch that heart.)
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