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Bridge 1/16
Take time to learn what you need
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    Albert Schweitzer, who was a theologian, musician and philosopher in addition to being a medical missionary, said, "As we acquire more knowledge, things do not become more comprehensible, but more mysterious."
    This should not be the case at the bridge table. As a deal unfolds, you see more and more cards, and should be able to place the missing key cards with greater accuracy. Sometimes, though, gaining that information requires patience — as in this deal. How would you plan the play in three no-trump after West has led the spade king?
    Do not be afraid to open one no-trump with an unstopped suit. It is your partner's responsibility to cover your weak suit. If he does not, get a partner who holds better cards!
    As always when in no-trump, start by counting your top tricks, your instant winners. Here, you have eight: one spade, three hearts and four diamonds. You need one club trick to get home. But should you lead from the board to your jack or to your king?
    Strangely, the answer lies not in the club suit, but in the spade suit. How is that breaking? If it is 4-3, you will have to guess the clubs correctly to avoid losing three spades and two clubs. However, if they are 5-2 (or worse), you will have no choice.
    So, hold up your spade ace until the third round. Here, East discards a heart on that third trick. You have acquired the knowledge that West began with five spades. If he gains the lead, he will take sufficient tricks to defeat you. This means you must assume East has the club ace. Play a club to your king.
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