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BRIDGE



Published: Wed, January 12, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Both vulnerable. South deals.

NORTH

x Q 10 9

u A 6 2

v J 4 2

w K J 7 4

WEST EAST

x A 6 x 7 5 4 3 2

u K 10 9 8 4 3 u J

v A 7 5 v 10 9 6 3

w 8 2 w 6 5 3

SOUTH

x K J 8

u Q 7 5

v K Q 8

w A Q 10 9

The bidding:

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST

1NT 2u 3NT Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Ten of u

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

Playing 15-17 no-trump opening bids, South is maximum for his first bid. After West's interference, North has enough to venture three no trump even should partner have a mere 15 points for his opening.

Suppose you elect to play. You capture East's jack of hearts with the queen, play off four rounds of clubs on which West discards a spade and a diamond, and then lead either a spade or a diamond. West wins and forces out the ace of hearts. You take the two winners you have set up, bringing your total tricks to eight, and lead the other plain suit, but the rest of the tricks belong to West -- down one.

However, don't be in too much of a hurry to switch to defending. West surely has a six-card heart suit and the two missing aces to enter the auction, vulnerable, over your no trump. So, suppose you allow East to win the first trick with the jack of hearts! Since East does not have another heart to return, you are a tempo ahead of the defenders. No matter what East returns, you knock out one of West's aces, win the next heart as cheaply as possible and force out the remaining ace. You cannot be stopped from collecting 10 tricks!

& copy; 2005 Tribune Media Services




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