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He needs the lead, so I gave it to him

China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-01 07:18

Lisa Kudrow, in her 2010 commencement address at Vassar College, said, "I think it's always a good move to listen to that inner voice, if it doesn't lead to a crime." Some bridge players use that inner voice a lot at the table. They place the missing key cards more by table presence than pure analysis. However, even these "natural" players will not fail to check the high-card points as each deal proceeds from start to finish.

In this deal, what should happen in three spades after West leads the heart ace? South had a borderline one-spade bid, but it usually pays to open if you can. North's three-heart cue-bid showed spade support with at least game-invitational values. After South signed off in three spades, West was sorely tempted to bid four hearts, but that would have cost 500 because he couldn't have gotten to dummy for the club finesse. West leads the heart ace: five, two, six. Did East start with a singleton or three? If East began with three, South would have had a singleton and surely would have jumped to four spades. So, West should cash the heart king (or queen). But after East discards a discouraging club two, what next? West counts the points. He has 17, and there are 10 on the board. That leaves 13 points for South, who opened the bidding, and East. West knows where they lie.

The defenders need five tricks. West should see how to get them. At trick three, he leads the heart four, forcing partner to ruff. Then a shift to the club jack will give the defenders two hearts, one heart ruff and two clubs.

He needs the lead, so I gave it to him

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