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Bridge 8/5
A natural instinct that is dangerous
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    English naturalist John Ray, who died in 1705, said, "Let him make use of instinct who cannot make use of reason."
    That is so true at the bridge table. We tend to do things on instinct. We have seen a play before, so we make it now, even if we could work out that it is wrong on this deal.
    What is one of the most common desires when on defense? To take a ruff. Any time you can stop declarer from winning a trick by ruffing, it is probably best to do so — but not always.
    You are East. Defending against four hearts, West leads the spade ace, under which you drop the nine, starting an echo (high-low) with your doubleton. West cashes the spade king, everyone following, then plays a third spade. How would you defend?
    West made a weak jump overcall, showing a decent six-card suit and 5-10 high-card points.
    Who knows what South should do when two spades comes back to him? A takeout double is possible; probably North would pass and collect 300. (Note that three no-trump is hopeless as long as West ducks the first round of spades.)
    Since West promised six spades in the bidding, you know that South is also out of spades. But it is usually right to stop declarer from getting an easy discard on a winner. Here, though, if you ruff dummy's spade queen, it will cost your natural trump trick. Instead, discard. Then declarer, unless he is looking through the backs of the cards, will lose four tricks: two spades, one heart and one diamond.
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