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Bridge 11/24
More on the theme of trick one
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    Oscar Wilde said, "Life is one fool thing after another, whereas love is two fool things after each other."
    In recent columns the key play has often occurred at trick one — deals devoutly to be desired. Here is another one — and this would trip up most players at the table, where they are not warned that there is a potential problem.
    You are South, in three no-trump. West leads his fourth-highest spade, and East puts up the queen. What would you do?
    Two diamonds was a transfer bid, showing five or more hearts and any high-card count. North's rebid of three no-trump said that his heart suit was exactly five long and that he had the values for game but not slam.
    You start with eight top tricks: one spade (given the lead), one heart, four diamonds and two clubs. Many players would take the first trick and run the heart jack. But they would be justifiably unlucky. East would win with the king and return his last spade, giving his partner four tricks in the suit to defeat the contract.
    If the heart finesse is winning or the spades are 4-3, you are never in jeopardy. So apply your mind to the given layout. Is there a way to get home even now?
    Yes — do not win the first trick. East leads back his second spade, and West establishes his suit. However, you still get one spade trick and can take the heart finesse in perfect safety. West has no entry to cash his spade winners.
    Very well done if you got that right.
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