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Bridge 7/4
This on-going match is on-going
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    Regular readers will know that on July 4, 1776, four of the declaration signatories repaired to a quiet room to play a game remarkably similar to present-day bridge. After two rubbers, Thomas Jefferson was well ahead, with Benjamin Franklin being the biggest loser. On the first board of the third rubber, John Adams made seven hearts with 150 honors. On the second, Adams went down in a four-spade contract he could have made with the aid of a scissors coup. This was the third deal.
    Against four hearts, reached after what would come to be known as a Stayman sequence, John Hancock (West) led the spade two.
    Jefferson paused to decide upon his line of play. He had only two top losers: the ace and king of trumps. He might also have a club loser, should the finesse fail. And this lead had all the hallmarks of a singleton. If so, and West could get a spade ruff with a low heart, the contract would depend upon that club finesse ... unless ...
    Declarer took the first trick and immediately cashed his three diamonds. After discarding the club three from his hand, South called for a heart. East stepped up with his ace and gave his partner a spade ruff. West cashed his heart king, but now was endplayed. If he returned a diamond, declarer would ruff in one hand and discard a club from the other. And a club shift would be into South's ace-queen.
    "Well played," said West. "You extracted my safe diamond exit cards like pulling teeth."
That is why this play is known as the dentist's coup.

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