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Bridge 11/16
When you can, take charge
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Choreographer and dancer Agnes de Mille said, "Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. ... We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark."
    Bridge players, who rarely leap, prefer not to jump from trick to trick in the dark. They hope to move with assurance, confident that they are making the right steps. But it is not always as easy as you think. Look at only the North and East hands in the diagram. You are East, defending against four spades. Your partner leads the diamond king. How would you plan the defense? In particular, which four tricks do you hope to take?
    North made a game-invitational jump to three spades, which is called a limit raise. He was nearly worth a game-force, but with seven of his 11 points in "quacks," the slight underbid was right. South had an automatic raise to game.
    You can see three tricks: one spade and two diamonds. But where is the fourth? Any heart finesse that South might need is working. And from the point-count, it is unlikely partner has the spade king or a club trick. Luckily, there is a plan that is almost certain to succeed — get a heart ruff.
    You could discourage in diamonds at trick one, hoping partner would find the heart shift, but he would probably try a club. It is much better to overtake with your diamond ace and to switch to your singleton.
    You will win the first trump trick, play a diamond to your partner's queen, and get that heart ruff. Then you may mentally jump for joy!
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