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Bridge 7/7
Declarer lives of dies in defense
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    Primo Levi, an Italian who wrote two interesting books about his time in Auschwitz and his even lengthier trip home after the war ended, claimed: “The aims of life are the best defense against death.”
    At the bridge table, the declarer aims at life by making his contract, while the defense is attempting to kill the contract.
    And as we all know, the declarer has a big edge — life is easier than death. This week, though, we will look at deals in which the defense should triumph.
    The first line of defense, if you will excuse the pun, is the attitude signal. If partner leads an honor in the suit and you would like him to continue that suit, you play the highest card you can afford. (In contrast, if you would prefer partner to try elsewhere, drop the lowest card you have and hope he finds the right shift.)
    This deal is an elementary example. How should East and West card to defeat four spades?
    On another subject, if you were West, would you make a two-heart overcall on the first round?
    To take the bidding question first, in the old days no one would have bid two hearts, which required the high-card values for an opening bid. Now, though, many would overcall. Two hearts takes up a lot of bidding space and indicates a good lead to partner.
    At trick one, East must play his heart nine, starting a high-low (an echo) with his doubleton. Then it ought to be the work of a moment for West to cash the heart king and to give his partner a heart ruff. And a moment later West’s spade king takes the setting trick.
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