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Bridge 9/29
From Beijing to Shanghai
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    The opening ceremony for this year's world bridge championships in Shanghai takes place today. The premier events are the Bermuda Bowl, Venice Cup and Senior Bowl. In all three, the American teams start among the favorites.
    China last hosted the Bermuda Bowl and Venice Cup in 1995 in Beijing. This deal occurred during that tournament.
    South's bid of three no-trump would not meet with universal approval, but it's too late to worry about that now. West leads the spade seven: two, nine, king. How would you continue?
Given the first trick, you have seven top tricks: one spade, four hearts, one diamond and one club. If the hearts are running, you need a winning minor-suit finesse. But which would you take?
    Rozanne Pollack, playing for USA-1 in the Venice Cup, saw the answer. Immediately, she cashed her diamond ace, the minor in which she had the greater number of cards. When the king didn't appear, she played off dummy's top hearts. Then declarer ran the club queen, coming home with 11 tricks when East had king-third.
    Suppose declarer started the hearts without first cashing the diamond ace. When the hearts failed to produce five tricks, she would need four minor-suit tricks. It would be correct to take the club finesse because if East has K-10-x of diamonds, declarer would still need the club finesse to work.
    Finally, note that it is right to cash the diamond ace at trick two even if dummy has the diamond 10 instead of the six.
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