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Bridge 11/15

Be lucky or get help

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Posted: November 14, 2006 4:57 p.m.
Updated: November 22, 2006 5:00 a.m.
The dummy comes down. You see that you might need some luck to get home, perhaps a winning finesse. At other times, though, you might receive some assistance from an opponent. Defenders make more mistakes than declarer and should be encouraged to maintain this tendency.
    In this deal, how would you plan the play in six spades after West leads the heart jack?
    North makes a game-invitational limit raise, and South takes a slightly optimistic shot at six spades.
    You have two possible diamond losers. Maybe you concluded that you will need the diamond finesse to work. But you have two chances to gain assistance from East. It cannot hurt to test him.
    After winning the first trick in your hand, draw trumps (keeping a dummy entry in the suit), play a club to dummy's ace, and ruff the club three in your hand. Then take your two remaining heart tricks, ending on the board with the king. Now call for the club 10. If East, thinking you will ruff it, plays a low club, discard your diamond three. West wins the trick but is endplayed. He must either play a diamond away from his king or concede a ruff-and-sluff.
    Suppose, though, that East rises with his club king. Ruff, play a trump to the board, and call for a diamond. If East follows with the six, play your three, endplaying West. And if East carefully puts up a higher diamond, you can still play low. Maybe West will have to win the trick. At worst, East will win and lead a diamond, forcing you to resort to the finesse.
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