Find one card to uncover another
Alexander Graham Bell said, “Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds.”
Maybe “invariably” is a slight overbid, but when someone has a good idea, it will often be honed by others. That definitely applies in bridge. Even something as classic as Blackwood has appeared in several versions.
In this deal, though, there is a different discovery that is important. South is in four spades. West leads the heart queen, top of touching honors. East takes the second trick with his heart ace (a harmless falsecard) and exits with a trump. How should declarer continue?
Advocates of the Losing Trick Count would insist on game with the North hand. It has only seven losers (one spade, because you deduct one loser for a 10-card or better fit, two hearts, two diamonds and two clubs), which is the game-force number.
South has three top losers (two hearts and one club), so must find the diamond queen to make his contract. However, rather than just guess, declarer should first go on a voyage of discovery. After drawing trumps, he should find out who holds the club ace. When it proves to be East, West must have the diamond queen. Why?
East has already turned up with 11 points (heart ace-king and club ace), but did not open the bidding as dealer. He cannot also have a queen.
If you want to be one of the top players in your circle, count high-card points on all deals. You will be amazed how often “guesses” become certainties.