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Bridge 1/23
You must go across three times
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    Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali poet, novelist, playwright and philosopher who died in 1941, said, "You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Don't let yourself indulge in vain wishes."
    One declarer-play technique often baffles my students: suit establishment. They do not work out how to cross the bay of 13 tricks to reach the safe harbor on the other side.
    How would you play in four hearts? West leads the spade ace, cashes his spade king, and gives his partner a spade ruff. East shifts to a diamond.
    After South opens one heart, North expects the final contract to be four hearts. But he responds two clubs for two reasons: If a slam is makable, mentioning his long suit would facilitate the auction. To jump-raise hearts immediately requires at least four-card support.
    You have lost three tricks and are faced with a diamond loser. You have only nine winners: six hearts, one diamond and two clubs. The sole chance for a 10th trick is to establish a low club. But if the missing clubs are dividing 4-2, you will need to ruff clubs twice in your hand, then to return to dummy to cash that new winner. This requires three dummy entries, which must be one in clubs and two in hearts.
    So, after winning with your diamond ace, take the heart ace. Then lead a club to dummy's king, cash the club ace, and ruff a club high in your hand. Play a trump to dummy and ruff another club high. Finally, lead a trump to dummy and triumphantly cash the 13th club, discarding the diamond jack from your hand.
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