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BRIDGE



Published: Wed, February 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Both vulnerable. North deals.

NORTH

x -5 3

u -K Q 2

v -7 4 2

w -A K 7 5 4

WEST EAST

x -7 6 4 2 x -K J 10 9 8

u -6 3 u -A 10 9 8

v -Q 8 6 v -9 3

w -Q 10 6 2 w -J 9

SOUTH

x -A Q

u -J 7 5 4

v -A K J 10 5

w -8 3

The bidding:

NORTH EAST SOUTH WEST

1w1x Dbl 2x

Pass Pass 3NT Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Two of x

The Civil War general who once said that victory goes to the side that "gets there fustest with the mostest!" must have been a bridge player.

South's double of the one-spade overcall was negative, for takeout, not penalties. West raised to two spades, North passed to show a minimum while denying four hearts and South's leap to three no trump ended the auction.

West led the fourth-best spade and East's king lost to the ace. With only six fast tricks, South had to develop three more while surrendering the lead only once. If East held the diamond queen, the contract was safe, and that could wait. There were two other possibilities. To set up hearts by forcing out the ace, but leading a heart to the queen immediately would need a 3-3 split if East held the ace. Playing on clubs was useless since, even if the suit broke 3-3, that would produce only eight tricks.

Declarer found a way to combine two lines. At trick two he crossed to the king of clubs and led a low heart to the jack! As expected, because of the opening bid, that held the trick. Declarer now needed only four tricks from diamonds. He therefore abandoned hearts and, just in case West started with five clubs and the queen of diamonds, tackled diamonds by cashing the ace and king before continuing with the jack to force out the queen and come to nine tricks with two spades, one heart, four diamonds and two clubs.

& copy; 2005 Tribune Media Services




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