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Bridge 1/25
How to handle a thin trump suit
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    Hans Christian Andersen claimed: "Being born in a duck yard does not matter, if only you are hatched from a swan's egg."
    That's an "ugly" observation! This week we have been looking at some trump-suit techniques. Declarer must be especially careful when his trumps are ugly (weak) — as in this deal. If you were South, how would you plan the play in four hearts after West has led the diamond jack?
    North, with two four-card majors, used Stayman to try to find a 4-4 major-suit fit. When South was not ashamed to show his four-card heart suit, North jumped to game. Note that three no-trump has no chance.
    In four hearts you need the trumps to split 3-2. And assuming they do, you should see five losers: two hearts, one diamond and two clubs. The red-suit losers are unavoidable, so you must ruff your two low clubs on the board. That looks easy enough, but what is the lurking danger?
    You will go down if East can overruff the dummy from an initial holding of only two trumps. Then you would lose three hearts and one diamond. You need to draw two rounds of trumps before taking the club ruffs. But if you play the ace and another heart, West will win with his queen and cash the heart king, holding you to one club ruff.
    The right line, after winning the first trick, is to duck a round of trumps. Lead a low heart and play low from the other hand. Win the diamond return, cash dummy's heart ace, and take those two club ruffs.
    With this layout, your care is rewarded in full.
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