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Bridge 2/20
Imagination and visualization too
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Cynthia Ozick wrote, "To imagine the unimaginable is the highest use of the imagination."
    At the bridge table you must have not only imagination but also visualization — picturing where the missing key cards are lying. A pictorial memory is a big advantage because then it is so much easier to "see" an opponent's hand is your mind's eye. In this deal, though, seeing the opponents' cards is less important — you must pay careful attention to your own.
    You reach three no-trump. West leads the spade king. What is your plan? How would it differ if West had led a diamond? What do you think of North's raise to three no-trump?
    At the risk of making you feel as if you are watching Miss America, let's take those questions in reverse order.
    North has too weak a hand to contemplate five clubs as a final contract, so he should raise to three no-trump and hope for the best. (Yes, I know that five clubs makes here, but that isn't the point!)
    You have seven top tricks, so need to make use of dummy's clubs. After a diamond lead, you would duck a club, guarding against a 3-1 split. When West leads a high spade, though, you cannot afford that luxury. You must run the clubs, hoping that they break 2-2. But that is not all: If you are careless, the suit will become blocked. You must cash the king before leading the eight to dummy's ace. When the opponents' four cards do divide 2-2, you can run the rest of the suit (starting with dummy's seven, of course) for at least 11 tricks, and probably 12 if West discards a diamond.
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