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Bridge 12/12
A story built around bridge deals
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    Novels that feature bridge deals are not everyone's glass of red wine. If you like the genre, though, you will enjoy Bill Townsend's "Bridge Out of School" (Vivisphere Publishing).
    Townsend is English, so the bidding has an Acol slant, but he concentrates on card play. I liked the book because the author mentions one of my favorite restaurants in England, the Croque-en-Bouche, but why couldn't he get the all accent marks right on French words?
In this deal from the book, you are in six hearts. West leads the club king. How would you win 12 tricks on 12-12?
    West doubled South's artificial opening to show clubs. East should have bid more than three clubs. And note North's careful four-club cue-bid, showing a good raise to four hearts.
    You could take two spade finesses, using the club ace and heart jack as dummy entries. That is a 76.0 percent line of play.
    The alternative is to duck the first trick (or to take it and return a club, discarding a diamond from your hand).
    Suppose West shifts to a trump. Take two rounds in your hand, cash two diamond tricks, play a trump to dummy's jack, and discard your remaining diamond honor on the club ace. Your two spade losers then disappear on dummy's high diamonds.
    This line succeeds if trumps are 2-2. Or, if trumps are 3-1, the diamonds must be 3-3 or 4-2. (The chance of an opponent having two red-suit singletons is microscopic.) This is a combined 82.47 percent. Also, the discard-an-honor line is much more satisfying.
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