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Bridge 4/11
The same suit, different problem
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Evan Esar, in his Comic Dictionary, wrote, "Statistics: The only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions."
    Today's trump suit is the same as yesterday's, but there is a different consideration, which might have crossed your mind when you read that column, but it was not relevant. Now is its time, though.
    How should the declarer and the defenders proceed in four spades after West leads the heart ace?
    North has 19 high-card points, so "must" bid four spades when his partner shows at least six points and four spades. But with such a "soft" hand (almost half the points in queens and jacks, and 4-3-3-3 distribution), rebidding three spades would not be wrong.
    South has three top losers: two hearts and one club. So he must play the trump suit without loss. In principle this requires finding East with doubleton king, which, as you can see, he has. But West can keep his side in with a chance of defeating the contract by dropping his nine or 10 when declarer plays a spade to his jack. This gives South the option of playing West for the doubleton 10-9. If that were the position, declarer would have to lead the spade queen from the dummy on the second round.
    What should South do?
    Against a good opponent, he should ignore West and continue with the spade ace. But if declarer knows that the falsecard would never occur to West, South should return to the dummy and call for the spade queen. That would be his only chance.
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