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Bridge 11/21
Tell partner which suit to lead
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French literary theorist and author Maurice Blanchot wrote, "Lovers of painting and lovers of music are people who openly display their preference like a delectable ailment that isolates them and makes them proud."
    Although we love art and music, our preference is for bridge. In yesterday's deal, East had a chance to show his preference for the suit he wanted West to lead at trick three — we say that he made a suit-preference signal. When one defender sees how to defeat the contract, but his partner does not have sufficient information, it is vital for the one "in the know" to act like a guide.
    In today's deal, you are sitting East. Against three no-trump, your partner leads the spade queen. How would you plan the defense?
    First, you should win trick one with the spade ace, then cash the spade king. This is how you warn partner that you started with only two spades. (With A-K-x, you would take the first trick with the king, third hand playing the bottom of equal cards when he will or might win the trick.) But what would you lead at trick three?
    Note that with this layout, if you shift to either minor, South claims nine tricks: four diamonds and five clubs. You must switch to a heart — and West knows it. So, at trick two, West should drop the spade jack, his highest card being a suit-preference signal for the highest-ranking of the other suits. (If West had the club ace, he would drop the spade two, his lowest. If West had the diamond ace, he would play the spade 10, his middle card.)
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