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Bridge 11/03

You must do what is required

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Sir Winston Churchill said, "It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required."
    This deal is like that. At first glance, you seem destined to fail in four spades. But there are two lies of the cards that allow you to get home -- and you can play for both of them simultaneously, a rare opportunity. What would be your plan after West leads the heart queen to your ace? Did he have a more effective opening salvo?
    On the second round of the auction, perhaps South should have rebid three no-trump, assuming he would win the nine tricks he was looking at. But when South chose two spades, North first gave a second negative to show 0-4 points, using the modern three clubs. Then, after South bid three no-trump, it was nigh impossible for North, with three-card spade support and a doubleton, to pass.
    There are nine obvious winners. There are two possibilities for a 10th: a 3-3 diamond break or a diamond ruff on the board. (Although the clubs are 3-3, you do not have the dummy entries to establish them, draw trumps, and get back to the board to cash the winners.)
    At trick two, play a diamond. West will win and shift to a trump. Take that in hand, lead another diamond, win the second spade in hand, and play a third diamond. If they split 3-3, your eight will be high; if not, you must hope that the person who wins this trick does not have a spade left to lead.
    Yes, an initial trump lead would have defeated you.
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