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- By Paul Thurston Feedback always welcome at

Safety plays may seem a bit wimpy to the macho type of declarer (also referred to as “careless’ or “cavalier”) who bashes away and hopes for the best but when a big ticket item like a slam bonus is in the offing, safety should be a first concern.

In a Canadian National Team Championsh­ip online playoff match, the competing North-south pairs had roughly equivalent auctions to reach the good but not ironclad heart slam.

With the same attacking diamond lead at both tables, Michael Wang of the ZHENG team showed the slam contract should be handled.

He won the diamond ace in hand and cashed the trump ace to continue with a second round of diamonds to dummy’s King to lead and pass the ten of hearts.

With the potential loss of two trump tricks being the most serious threat to the slam’s success, this was a well-conceived safety play to handle the only 4-1 trump split that declarer could handle! Well done!

At the other table of the match, a declarer who won’t be named later, clicked on the Jack of diamonds at trick one, a slight error as the extra diamond trick was inconseque­ntial but the limited supply of dummy entries was reduced by one before it was actually of any use.

This was followed by a more consequent­ial error as South led to his heart ace and cashed the King, often to occasion no damage when the trumps started 3-2 and irrelevant if West had four.

Neither was the case this time and ignoring the safety play was very, very expensive.

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