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


Arte­mus Ward, a 19th-cen­tury hu­morist, said, “Let us all be happy, and live within our means, even if we have to bor­row the money to do it with.”

Bridge play­ers are happy with plus scores, even if oc­ca­sion­ally they have to “bor­row” tricks from op­po­nents’ mis­takes. In to­day’s deal, though, both East and South have chances to make good plays. What are they? South is in four spades, and West leads his fourth-high­est heart. Also, what was West’s more ef­fec­tive lead?

The North hand has eight losers (three spades, two hearts, two di­a­monds and one club), per­fect for a game-in­vi­ta­tional raise. But change the spade jack to the spade queen, and that low­ers the loser count to seven and -- just -- makes the hand worth a forc­ing raise.

South has 10 win­ners: six spades, one heart and three clubs. But he might lose one heart, two di­a­monds and one club, if the club fi­nesse loses, and West can push a di­a­mond through dummy’s king, with East hold­ing the ace. South must keep West off the lead.

East, know­ing his part­ner is not un­der­lead­ing the ace, should play his heart 10 at trick one, to find out who holds the heart queen.

If South takes that trick, he goes down. The play con­tin­ues: draw trumps, take a los­ing club fi­nesse, low-heart lead to West’s queen, di­a­mond shift.

How­ever, if South plays low from his hand at trick one, he is safe.

Lastly, sup­pose West had led a di­a­mond. Then, if East had won with his 10 and shifted to a heart, four spades would have failed. Nev­er­the­less, it is usu­ally bet­ter to lead from shorter suits against trump con­tracts.

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