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Bridge 10/30
The exact spots were exacting
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    Honor cards win many tricks, but often success is decided by the spot cards. West leads the diamond king against four hearts. Would you bet on declarer or the defenders? What is the key spot?
    After South shows at least six hearts, North raises to three hearts. South accepts the game invitation because he has a near maximum. (Note that three no-trump stands no chance.)
    Declarer wants to win four spades, five hearts and one diamond, or some slight variation. The defenders need to take two hearts, one diamond and one club.
    South wins the first trick on the board (ducking doesn't help) and calls for a trump. What should East do?
    The cover-an-honor-with-an-honor rule is qualified by saying that one should cover the last of touching honors, not the first. If East is a believer, he will not cover the heart 10. That, however, is fatal. Declarer runs the heart 10. West's best defense is to duck, but declarer can play a heart to his ace, cash the spade queen, lead a spade to dummy's jack, and pitch a diamond on the spade ace. The defense gets only one heart, one diamond and one club.
    Now let's have East cover the heart 10 with his jack. South has no riposte. If he finesses his queen (the normal play), West wins with his king, cashes the diamond queen, and (simplest) continues with the diamond jack. When dummy ruffs, a trump trick is promoted for West.
    If you bet on the defense, you were right. South needed the heart eight.
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