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Bridge 11/16
Take time to get their number down
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    C.C. Colton, an English author and clergyman, wrote, "It is always safe to learn, even from our enemies; seldom safe to venture to instruct, even our friends." But if someone is learning, someone else is instructing, even if only through the printed word.
    In this deal, declarer must play safely or he will fall to defeat. Take his chair and plan the play in four spades. West leads the club 10, East taking his ace and returning the suit.
South's wealth of aces and kings is a big plus, but having seven points in a doubleton is a negative, so two no-trump is the right opening bid.
    North knows that when he heads for game, he might be taking his side too high, but the game bonus is so huge that it pays to gamble. North uses Stayman to uncover the 4-4 spade fit.
    How many losers do you have in your hand?
    You should see five: two spades (if spades are 4-1, you have no chance), two diamonds and one club.
    What winners do you have? Outside spades, six: two in each side suit. You must get four trump tricks. With two diamond winners in your own hand, you must "swallow" your two low diamonds by ruffing them on the board. But if East is short in both spades and diamonds, you need to be careful.
    After winning the second trick, duck a trump, playing low spades from both your hand and the dummy. Win the next trick, cash the spade ace, and take those diamond ruffs. Even if East can overruff, it costs the second trump trick that you are always going to lose.
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