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Bridge 3/27
As if he can see through the cards
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    Bridge experts are sometimes accused of having X-ray vision because they always seem to know which opponent holds what cards. But usually it has nothing to do with super powers, only analyzing a deal correctly — as in this example.
    South is in four spades. West cashes two top diamonds, then shifts to a trump. How should declarer plan the play? What do you think of the auction?
    Inexperienced players often advance partner's takeout double incorrectly, bidding their longest suit at a minimum level regardless of hand strength. If the advancer, as the doubler's partner is known in some quarters, is not a passed hand, a simple suit-bid shows 0-8 points. With 9-11, he jumps in a suit, as South did here. And with 12 or more points, he cue-bids the opener's suit. (If the advancer is a passed hand, these ranges change to 0-7, 8-9 and 10-11.)
    South, with one heart and two diamonds to lose, must guess the club suit correctly. Declarer should leave that suit for as late in the play as possible. First, he draws trumps. Then, he plays on hearts to find out who holds the ace. Next, he checks the points. He is missing only 16 high-card points, but West opened the bidding and East has shown up with the heart ace. West must have the club queen, so South finesses through him to make the contract.
    Note that if West has the heart ace, declarer should play East for the club queen. Why?
    West probably has a balanced hand. And if he also has the club queen, he would have 16 points and would have opened one no-trump, not one diamond.
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