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Bridge 6/28
The cards are in the other hand
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    Yesterday, we had a deal in which declarer had to conserve a dummy entry to get full value from the long diamond suit on the board. Today, the cards are in the other hand, so to speak. The defense has to keep the declarer from getting more tricks than necessary from dummy's best suit.
    South is in three no-trump. West leads his fourth-highest heart. How should the defenders card to defeat the contract?
    South has only 20 high-card points and a low doubleton in spades, but three aces and one king make his hand strong enough to open two no-trump. North uses Stayman, hoping to uncover a 4-4 spade fit.
    South has seven top tricks: two hearts (given the lead), four diamonds and one club. He could plug away at clubs to gain one more trick, but here the defenders would establish and run the heart suit first. They would collect one spade, three hearts and two clubs.
    So South tries for two spade tricks. Maybe the defender with the ace will be worried that declarer began with three spades and hold up his ace twice.
Declarer ducks the first trick, wins East's heart return, and plays a spade.
Whenever there is a semisolid suit on the board, like those spades, the defender without the ace should assume his partner has that honor-card and give a count signal.
    Here, East plays the spade two, his lowest card showing an odd number -- three -- in the suit. West now knows that South started with two spades. West holds up his spade ace for one round and takes the second round, leaving declarer helpless.
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