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Bridge 10/25
Play the key cards at the key time
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    George Eliot wrote, "All meanings, we know, depend on the key of interpretation."
    This is particularly true when defending at the bridge table. The defenders must follow a set of "rules" for which cards to play. Then, if these plays are interpreted correctly, they will greatly increase their chances of defeating a contract.
    In this deal, how should East and West card to beat three no-trump after West has led his fourth-highest heart?
    North's decision to bid three no-trump is laudable. If the club suit is worth five or six tricks, the contract will probably make. And if it is wastepaper, maybe even one no-trump is too high. (If you use two spades as a transfer to clubs, with opener's rebid saying whether or not he likes clubs, that would be a sensible option.)
    If declarer can establish and run his clubs, he will get home — unless the defenders take four hearts and one club first.
    East should win the first trick with his heart ace — third hand high. Playing the 10 is all right here, but would be fatal if West had led from, for example, K-J-9-4 of hearts.
    Then, because East has only two hearts remaining, he leads back the higher one, the 10. (If he had three left, he would return the lowest one.)
    Next, when South plays the heart queen, West must drop his two to retain communication with his partner.
    Finally, when declarer plays on clubs, East grabs his ace (probably on the second round) and returns his last heart. West takes three tricks in the suit to kill the contract.
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