Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - by Phillip Alder

Edith Whar­ton, a Pulitzer Prizewin­ning author, said, “There are two ways of spread­ing light: to be the can­dle or the mir­ror that re­flects it.” Oc­ca­sion­ally, I imag­ine, some­one could do both -- spot a new idea, then pub­li­cize it.

In bridge deals, de­clarer would like to have two chances to make a con­tract and be able to try both. At other times, though, he has to take two steps to get home; if he slips at ei­ther stage, his can­dle will be ex­tin­guished.

To­day, South is in three notrump. What hap­pens af­ter West leads the di­a­mond seven?

South starts with only five top tricks: three spades, one di­a­mond and one club. He must play on both hearts and clubs be­fore he has nine winners. The dan­ger, of course, is that the op­po­nents will first take too many tricks in di­a­monds, hearts and clubs. What is the di­a­mond sit­u­a­tion?

If the suit is 4-3, South needs the club fi­nesse to work. But if they are 5-2, what does East hold?

It must be honor-dou­ble­ton. West would have led the king with all three hon­ors. So, de­clarer’s first step is to win trick one with dummy’s ace to block the suit. Then what?

It looks tempt­ing to turn to hearts, but here that is fatal. East wins, cashes the di­a­mond queen, and shifts to clubs. West gets in with his king and takes three di­a­mond tricks -- down one.

In­stead, South should take the club fi­nesse first. Yes, it loses, and West can con­tinue with a low di­a­mond, but he has no en­try left. (If he also has the heart ace, de­clarer prob­a­bly had no chance.)

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