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Bridge 1/24
If you can, you should do so
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    George S. Patton said, "I don't measure a man's success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces when he hits bottom."
    There is a vague parallel between that and the winning line in this deal. South reaches four spades, and West leads the club king. How should declarer plan the play?
    In the old days, South would never have opened with only 11 high-card points and a five-card suit. But now it is accepted that opening the bidding gives that side an immediate advantage. It is like having the white pieces in chess. However, you should apply four tests. Will you have an easy rebid opposite any simple response by partner? Are you bidding a suit you would be happy for partner to lead? If partner has a fit for one of your suits, do you have at most seven losers? (You count only the first three cards in any suit. This hand has seven losers: one spade, two hearts, two diamonds and two clubs.) Do you have one ace or two kings? If you answer "yes" four times, open.
    North used the Jacoby Forcing Raise, and South's jump to game showed a minimum with no singleton or void.
    South saw five losers: two hearts, two diamonds and one club. The minor-suit losers were unavoidable, but he could ruff two hearts on the board. He won with dummy's club ace, played a spade to his ace, took the ace and king of hearts, then ruffed a heart with the spade eight, East discarding. Declarer returned to his hand with a trump, ruffed his last heart with the spade queen, and claimed.
    Always ruff high when you can afford to.
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