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Bridge 8/21
The instinct that must be ignored
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    As we saw earlier in the week, on some deals you must think twice, not succumb to an instinctive but wrong reaction. This is another example. After West opens three hearts, showing a good seven-card suit and 5-10 high-card points, North makes a takeout double, and you (South) convert to three no-trump. West leads the heart queen. What would be your plan?
    It is instinctive to attack diamonds immediately, but with this layout the contract dies. East wins with the ace and returns his last heart. When West gets in with the spade king, he cashes his hearts.
    Now try crossing to dummy's club king and running the spade queen. Here the finesse loses and West establishes his heart suit. However, when you dislodge the diamond ace, East has no heart to return. You rake in an overtrick. And if the spade finesse wins, you can knock out the diamond ace.
    There are two ways to analyze this type of deal. One approach is to ask yourself: "What if I take the spade finesse and it wins? What if I take the spade finesse and it loses?" After answering those questions, you should realize that it is right to take the spade finesse before touching diamonds.
    Alternatively, consider each possible distribution of the two key cards, the spade king and diamond ace. If West has both, you are down.
    If East has the spade king, you cannot fail.
    The danger position is when West has the spade king and East the diamond ace. You must play on spades first to drive out the entry card — winner — from the hand with the long suit that is nearly established.
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