Business Day - - THE BOTTOM LINE - Steve Becker

The bid­ding: North East South West

1 ♣ Pass 1 ♥ Pass 2 ♠ Pass 3 ♥ Pass 3NT Pass 6 ♥ Open­ing lead — five of spades. . A fine de­clarer hopes for the best but pre­pares for the worst. To­day’s hand is a typ­i­cal ex­am­ple. As­sume you’re in six hearts and West leads a spade. As soon as dummy comes down, you see that the only sig­nif­i­cant threat to the slam is that one de­fender was dealt four trumps to the A-10, about a 1-in-4 prob­a­bil­ity.

You there­fore ad­just your think­ing to that pos­si­bil­ity. If West has the A-10-x-x, you are doomed what­ever you do, so you as­sume East has them. Or­di­nar­ily, East would score two trump tricks with such a hold­ing, but if you play your cards right, you can limit him to one trump trick. From the start you must play to shorten your­self in trumps, so af­ter win­ning the spade lead with the ace, you im­me­di­ately ruff a spade. You then lead a trump to dummy’s jack. Let’s say East wins with the ace and re­turns a di­a­mond — as good a de­fence as any. You win in dummy and ruff an­other spade, then lead the king of trumps, on which West shows out. Your ear­lier prepa­ra­tions for a trump coup are now richly re­warded. You still have the Q-97 of trumps left over East’s 108, and, to coup him, you sim­ply have to equalise your trump length with his. You there­fore lead a club to the ten and ruff dummy’s last spade as East dis­cards his last di­a­mond. Next you cross to dummy with a club and then play your club win­ners. It does not mat­ter whether East ruffs now or later; his 10-8 of trumps ei­ther im­me­di­ately or even­tu­ally suc­cumb to your Q-9. .

Next Hand — South dealer Both sides vul­ner­a­ble NORTH

♠ A 10 2 ♥ 953 ♦ J763 ♣ A 10 7 WEST EAST

♠ 9763 ♠ K85 ♥J 874♥A K 1062 ♦ 985 ♦ Q 10 4 ♣ 62 ♣ 94 SOUTH

♠ QJ4 ♥Q♦ AK2 ♣ KQJ853 The bid­ding: South West North East

1 ♣ Pass 1 ♦ 1 ♥ 3 ♣ Pass 4 ♣ Pass 5 ♣ Open­ing lead — four of hearts.

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