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

John Buchan, a Scot­tish politi­cian and au­thor who wrote "The Thirty-Nine Steps," said, "The charm of fish­ing is that it is the pur­suit of what is elu­sive but at­tain­able, a per­pet­ual se­ries of oc­ca­sions for hope."

The same can be said about bridge. When­ever you make a bid or play, you hope it will prove best. More of­ten than not, it is right to stick to the tried-andtrue ac­tions, but oc­ca­sion­ally do­ing some­thing un­usual will work like a charm.

In this deal, look only at the West hand. What would you lead against three no-trump, given that you know from the Stay­man auc­tion that dummy will have four spades and de­clarer holds four hearts?

If South had de­nied a four­card ma­jor, North would have re­bid three clubs, which would have shown game-forc­ing val­ues, a four-card ma­jor and longer clubs. Per­haps five clubs would have made and three notrump failed due to a fa­tal heart weak­ness.

In a so­cial game, sit­ting West was Su­san Lud­wig of Palm Beach Gar­dens, Florida. Nor­mally, one would have ex­pected her to lead the di­a­mond four. Here, that would have made the de­fense dif­fi­cult. East would surely have won with his ace and re­turned a di­a­mond. Then, though, de­clarer would have es­tab­lished the club suit and cruised home. To de­feat the con­tract, East would have had to win the first trick and shift to hearts, a very tough play to find.

Lud­wig led the heart jack, which worked per­fectly. The de­fend­ers eas­ily took three hearts, one di­a­mond and one club.

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