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Doing the splits for success
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Robert Fitzgerald, when discussing his criteria for translating Homeric Greek, wrote: "The test of a given phrase would be: Is it worthy to be immortal? To 'make a beeline' for something. That's worthy of being immortal and is immortal in English idiom. 'I guess I'll split' is not going to be immortal and is excludable, therefore excluded."
    At the bridge table, we know about suit splits. But there is another important split, which is relevant to this deal.
Against three spades, West leads the heart nine. East wins with his king, cashes the heart ace, and shifts to the club jack. You win on the board with the ace and run the spade queen, but West takes the trick with his king and returns the club queen to your king. After drawing the missing trumps, how would you continue?
    North makes a limit raise, showing 10-12 support points (counting high-card and shortage points) and eight losers (here, two in each suit). South, with a minimum opening bid, passes.
You have lost one spade and two hearts. And there are losers in each minor readily apparent. It looks as though you will need considerable luck in the diamond suit. But that is not true. Quietly exit with your last club to East's nine. What happens next?
    If East returns a heart or a club, you discard a diamond from your hand and ruff on the board. Alternatively, if he switches to a diamond, you should play for split honors -- assume each opponent has one honor. Even if East correctly leads the diamond queen, you should win with your king, then play a diamond to dummy's 10.
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