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

Cory Doc­torow, a Cana­dian-Bri­tish blog­ger, jour­nal­ist and sci­ence fic­tion au­thor, wrote, "Ab­nor­mal is so com­mon, it's prac­ti­cally nor­mal."

At the bridge ta­ble, the ab­nor­mal hap­pens rarely, and most of the time it is missed, es­pe­cially on de­fense. It is hard to make a play that would nor­mally be sui­ci­dal but is the only win­ner on a given deal.

How should West an­a­lyze this lay­out? South is in four spades. West leads the club queen. South wins with his ace and plays a low trump. From where should West hope to find four tricks?

North's Ja­coby Forc­ing Raise showed four-plus trumps and at least game-forc­ing val­ues. South, with a min­i­mum open­ing bid and no short suit, jumped to game.

Most de­fend­ers sit­ting West would im­me­di­ately play sec­ond hand low at trick two. Then, though, de­clarer would win on the board and lead another trump. He would lose only one spade and two hearts.

When the dummy ap­pears, the de­fend­ers should ask for a time­out so that they can an­a­lyze the deal. Here, West can see two de­fen­sive tricks: his spade ace and heart king. He should next count the high-card points. He has 10, and dummy holds 14. That leaves 16 for the other two play­ers. East can have just one high card. Which one would be useful?

Only the heart ace. West must win the sec­ond trick and shift to the heart king. Here, that works per­fectly; the de­fend­ers take the spade ace, two top hearts and a heart ruff. But if it turned out that South had the heart ace, this play would cost only an over­trick.

Keep count­ing those points.

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