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Bridge 11/02
How might you fail to get home?
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    Journalist Abigail van Buren said, "True, a little learning is a dangerous thing, but it still beats total ignorance."
    At the bridge table, many players turn a blind eye to potential dangers. But it never hurts to wonder what might go wrong. This deal is a good example. How would you plan the play in four spades? West leads the diamond jack.
    North's rebid of two no-trump (traditional) or three clubs (modern) shows a really bad hand with fewer than four spades. Over that, if South bids three spades, it is nonforcing, showing nine winners and giving North an out if he has no semblance of a 10th trick. South might have done that.
    When in a suit contract, look at your own 13 cards and take dummy's honors into account. Here, there are four possible losers: one spade and three clubs. There are only nine winners: six spades, one heart and two diamonds.
    The only realistic chance for another trick is a club ruff on the board. But suppose you immediately lead a low club. East should take the trick and shift to his trump. Then you would have no chance to get home.
    Instead, lead your club king at trick two. Here, West can win with his ace and switch to a spade, but you take the trick and play another club. Your luck is in. If East wins the trick, he cannot play another trump, and if West takes it and plays a spade to stop the ruff on the board, he loses his spade king.
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