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Bridge 10/27
Carelessness costs contracts
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Cornelius Tacitus wrote, "Keen at the start, but careless at the end." That describes the declarer of this deal to a T(acitus). Let's see if you would have done better. You reach four spades. West leads the heart queen. How would you plan the play?
    Note that if West leads a diamond, trying to give his partner a ruff, South must be careful. If he is tempted by the trump finesse, he fails because East gets a diamond ruff. Declarer must play the ace and another trump to denude East of spades.
    The original declarer saw only three losers: one spade and two clubs. He started keenly on that assumption, winning with the heart ace on the board and running the spade nine. West took the trick with his king and continued with the heart 10. South won in his hand, drew trumps, played a diamond to dummy's queen, and cashed the diamond ace. Suddenly the contract was unmakable. Declarer had to lose a diamond in addition to the spade and two clubs.
    If diamonds are 3-2, there are no problems. But just in case the diamonds are breaking badly, South should have played to establish a club trick first. After drawing trumps, he plays a club to dummy's jack and East's ace. Declarer ruffs the heart return and leads another club. Since West has the king, dummy's queen sets up, on which South's fourth diamond can be discarded.
    It is easy to get careless when the contract looks so simple. Always spend a few seconds looking for potential dangers and how you might skirt around them.
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