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Bridge 7/5
Take trick one to think and think
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    English author and lexicographer Samuel Johnson said, “A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner.”
    Maybe that’s the secret at the bridge table. The more earnestly you think about the bridge deals, the quicker dinner will come!
    Perhaps you are on a diet, because this deal would be difficult at the table, but is easier on paper, when you are warned that a key play is required. You are East. Against four spades, your partner leads the club queen. How would you hope to collect four tricks?
    Although the North hand was near the bottom of the 6-9 point-range, North liked having an ace, a five-card suit and two trumps, when he might have had none of those. So he raised South’s game-invitational three-spade rebid to four spades.
    Let’s peek at declarer’s hand. He has four potential losers: one spade and three clubs. The spade finesse might be working, but even if it is not, he will be fine if he can ruff a club on the board.
    How does the defense stop that ruff? You must overtake partner’s club queen at trick one and shift to a spade. Then, when declarer plays a second club, take that trick also and lead another trump.
    Note that if you leave partner on lead at trick one, he cannot switch to a spade without putting his trick in the suit down the waste disposal. And if he plays anything else, declarer wins and loses a club to set up his key ruff.
    Always think at trick one, whether you are declarer or a defender.
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