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Bridge 4/3
A good lead needs correct postop
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    Sometimes successful surgery is set back by poor postoperative care. It can be the same at the bridge table. It is no good if one defender produces the best opening lead, but his partner fails to find the correct follow-up procedure.
    In this deal you are East, defending against three no-trump. Your partner leads the spade eight. After declarer calls for dummy's nine, what would you do?
    The simple auction gave scant information to the defenders. Note, though, that if North had six diamonds and, say, only two clubs, he should still have bid three no-trump, going for the nine-trick game.
    Can the eight be West's fourth-highest spade?
    Apply the Rule of Eleven. Subtracting the value of the card led from 11 tells you that there are three cards higher than the eight in the North, East and South hands combined. But you can see four higher cards: dummy's queen, jack and nine, and your ace. So West has led "top of nothing," not fourth-highest.
    Next, count the points. There are 11 on the board, declarer has 15-17, and you hold nine. That leaves 3-5 for partner. This means that partner cannot have two entries. If you win with the spade ace and return your second spade, partner will not get in to establish his suit and get in again to cash his winners.
    It is time to look for a better follow-up procedure. Take the first trick with your spade ace and shift to the club queen. Here, this nets the first six tricks for the defense.
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