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Bridge 10/19
When you need to get lucky
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    Scottish actress Deborah Kerr said, "Personally, I think if a woman hasn't met the right man by the time she's 24, she may be lucky."
    At the bridge table, occasionally you need to get lucky — as in this deal. You are in four spades. West leads the diamond jack and East signals with his nine. How would you plan the play?
    After the automatic one-spade opening and two-heart overcall, North has a close decision. He might settle for two spades. Despite five-card spade support, his hand has a lot of losers. He might jump to four spades, bidding to the 10-trick level with 10 combined trumps. But that is extreme with all of those losers. Three spades, which is pre-emptive, plows a sensible middle furrow. (If North's hand is worth a game-invitational limit raise, he would cue-bid three hearts.)
    When West does not lead a heart, it is almost certain that he has the ace. And if so, you have four potential losers: two hearts, one diamond and one club.
    First, you must keep East off the lead. Second, you must hope that the diamonds are 3-3. Third, you must let West hold trick one.
    If you do that, you will make the contract. Let's say West plays another diamond. You win, draw trumps, and take the last two diamonds, discarding a heart from the board. Your losers are down to three: one in each side suit.
    Note finally that East missed a chance to be a hero. He should have played his diamond queen at trick one. Then you could not have kept him off the lead for the lethal heart shift.
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