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Bridge 5/2
Thrust and parry in a lively deal
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Eric Temple Bell was born in Scotland, but moved to the United States when he was 20 and lived there until his death in 1960. He said, "Any impatient student of mathematics or science or engineering who is irked by having algebraic symbolism thrust upon him should try to get along without it for a week."
    Any bridge player, impatient or otherwise, who is irked by having to count should track how often he wins if he tries to get along without it for a week. (He will never win.)
    Let's see how you count in this deal. You reach four spades after the given auction. West cashes two top hearts, then shifts to the diamond six. How would you continue?
    North, because of his five-card support, might have jumped pre-emptively to four spades, but his lack of a singleton and his soft values reduce the worth of his hand.
    You can afford to lose only one club trick. After winning trick three, draw trumps (learning that West began with queen-doubleton), cash the rest of the diamonds ending on the board (to delay the evil moment), then call for the club jack. When East plays low smoothly, would you run the jack or rise with your king?
    West has already shown up with nine points: the spade queen and heart ace-king. If he had the club ace too, he would have opened the bidding. So, go up with your club king — it is sure to win.
    Whenever an opponent passes instead of opening, say to yourself that he has fewer than 12 high-card points and no long suit. And if you can count only one thing, make it high-card points.
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