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BRIDGE



Published: Thu, February 24, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Both vulnerable. South deals.

NORTH

x Q 4 3

u A 7 4

v 10 5 2

w 9 7 5 4

WEST EAST

x J 10 9 6 x 8 5 2

u Q 8 6 3 u J 10 5

v J 6 v Q 9 8 4

w ? 8 3 w ? 6 2

SOUTH

x A K 7

u K 9 2

v A K 7 3

w K J 10

The bidding:

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST

2NT Pass 3NT Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Jack of x

Study the diagram above then decide: Would you rather play or defend three no trump after the lead of the jack of spades?

The auction was routine. South opened a 20-22 point two no trump and North, with a balanced 8, had an easy raise to three no trump.

Suppose you elect to declare. You win the first trick in dummy with the queen and lead a club to the jack. West wins with the queen and you have no problem should the defender continue with spades. However, West can see that persisting with spades is futile and shifts the attack to hearts. You duck one round and win the second in hand to lead the king of clubs. A defender grabs the ace and continues with a heart to dummy's ace. Squirm as you will, you cannot score more than eight tricks.

But don't be in too much of a hurry to switch horses and opt to defend. You have overlooked the power of the nine of clubs on the table. Win the spade lead in hand and lead the king of clubs! A defender wins and it makes no difference whether a spade or a heart is returned. You win, force out the remaining club stopper from the enemy, and win the return. Clear the ten of clubs from hand, cross to dummy and cash the nine of clubs. In all, you score three spade tricks, two hearts, two diamonds and two clubs.

& copy; 2005 Tribune Media Services




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