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Bridge 8/9
Number help is needed
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    Social writer Eric Hoffer claimed: "The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings."
    Many bridge players find counting winners and losers hard. This deal, though, requires counting declarer's hand, and to do it correctly you need help from partner, which makes it doubly difficult.
    You are West, defending against four spades. You take the first two tricks with top clubs, dropping South's queen, and continue with the club jack. Declarer ruffs and cashes three rounds of trumps, your partner discarding on the last one. Now South turns to dummy's diamonds. How would you plan the defense?
    North's two-diamond response promised at least 10 high-card points (or a great nine). South's three-club cue-bid forced to game and asked North to bid three no-trump if he had a club stopper. After that, North and South struggled into a playable spot. (Note that five diamonds goes down if the defense starts with three rounds of clubs, East ruffing the third round with his diamond nine.)
    You must time your ruff perfectly. If you trump the second diamond, declarer will claim. He can ruff your next club and finish dummy's diamond suit. If you ruff the fourth diamond, declarer's heart loser will have disappeared. You must ruff the third round, when declarer is playing his last diamond. But how do you know how many diamonds South holds? Because partner gives a count signal in diamonds, playing high-low to show an even number. (He ought to discard the diamond seven on the third spade, then follow with the three and nine.)
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