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Bridge 11/30
From one side to the other
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    Thomas Mann, German novelist and Nobel laureate, wrote, "A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a truth."
    Yesterday, we had the truth about the declarer play in this four-spade contract. To handle the trump suit for one loser, South should start with a low spade from the dummy, not the jack.     After losing the first spade finesse, when declarer is back on the board with the club jack, he runs the spade jack, taking a second spade finesse and staying on the board for a third finesse when it turns out that East had begun with four trumps.
    You may have noticed, though, that the defense was not of the highest caliber.
    Let's look at West's problem after he has taken two diamond tricks. He can expect to score his spade king. But where is defensive trick number four?
    West has 10 high-card points, there are seven on the board, and South, with his two-no-trump opening, advertised 21-22. That leaves only one or two points for East. So it is unlikely that the defenders can collect a third side-suit trick. They need two trump tricks. It is time to give a ruff-and-sluff by leading a third diamond. (East discards a club.)
    Declarer will trump on the board, then play a spade to his 10. (Yes, if he guesses to put up his ace, he gets home, but that is so anti-percentage, losing to all 3-2 splits with at least one honor onside.) West wins with his king and leads a fourth diamond. Now South, whether he ruffs on the board or in his hand, cannot stop East's spade queen from becoming a trick.
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