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

Mike Mur­dock, a tel­e­van­ge­list, said, “You will only be re­mem­bered for two things: the prob­lems you solve or the ones you cre­ate.”

Even bet­ter for a bridge player is to solve the prob­lems that are pre­sented, not to cre­ate them. In to­day’s deal, South is in six spades. What should he do af­ter West leads a low heart?

North’s two-no-trump re­sponse was the Ja­coby Forc­ing Raise, guar­an­tee­ing at least four-card sup­port and game-go­ing val­ues. South’s three-no-trump re­bid in­di­cated a mid­dling hand (usu­ally 14-16 points) with no side-suit sin­gle­ton or void. Four clubs and four di­a­monds were con­trol-bids show­ing those aces.

The North-South hands have mir­ror dis­tri­bu­tion: Each is 5-2-42. This is usu­ally bad news be­cause it means there will be no dis­cards or ex­tra trump tricks from ruff­ing. So, at first glance, de­clarer needs ei­ther the heart or club fi­nesse to work. Is there an­other pos­si­bil­ity?

The ob­vi­ous ap­proach is to try each round-suit fi­nesse. How­ever, not many de­fend­ers would lead away from the heart king. It is true that North showed in­ter­est in a grand slam, so an ag­gres­sive open­ing lead is fea­si­ble. But against most play­ers, South should win with dummy’s heart ace, draw trumps, cash the di­a­mond winners, and cast adrift with a heart.

If East takes the trick, he must ei­ther lead into dummy’s club ace-queen or con­cede a ruff-and­sluff. At the worst, West wins and shifts to a club. Now de­clarer has to fi­nesse. If that loses, he should con­grat­u­late West on a great open­ing lead.

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