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BRIDGE



Published: Wed, January 19, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Both vulnerable. North deals.

NORTH

x K 9 5

u 8 6

v A K J

w A 8 6 5 3

WEST EAST

x 10 8 6 3 x J 7 4

u ? 7 u ? 5 2

v ? 6 3 v ? 8 7 4 2

w Q J 10 4 w K 2

SOUTH

x A Q 2

u A K J 10 4 3

v 9 5

w 9 7

The bidding:

NORTH EAST SOUTH WEST

1NT Pass 4w Pass

4u Pass 6u Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Queen of w

The opening lead can force you to change your line of play. Here's a good example.

In the modern style, to open one no trump with one suit unstopped is common practice. South's jump to four clubs was the Gerber Convention, asking for aces. When North showed two, South gambled on the small slam in hearts.

Looking at just the North and South hands, the slam seems to depend on one of the two red-suit finesses. The opening lead has changed all that. Now South has an immediate club loser and, should he take a losing finesse, the defenders will cash the setting trick. Does that mean South must make a winning guess which finesse to take?

Not quite. There is another way to give South almost as good a chance as one of two finesses. After winning the first trick with the ace of clubs, declarer must cash the ace and king of hearts in an attempt to drop the queen. If her majesty does not drop, South can fall back on his second chance, the diamond finesse. If a diamond to the jack holds, declarer can discard his club loser on a high diamond, and the only trick to be lost would be the queen of trumps. Just another routine slam.

& copy; 2005 Tribune Media Services




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