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Posted on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 5 a.m.

Bridge column, December 13: A new-suit discard shows your attitude

By Phillip Alder

Thomas Edison said: "If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."

That brings new meaning to tunnel vision -- 10,000 failures. If only he could have turned to bridge, where there are far fewer opportunities for error. But "discarded" is apropos of this deal.

South is in four spades. West leads the heart ace. How should the play proceed?

When West makes a weak jump overcall, responder, with support for his partner's major, bids one level higher than he would have done without the intervention. So, here, three spades would show a decent single raise, four spades would indicate a game-invitational limit raise, and the four-heart cue-bid showed game-forcing values in spades without saying anything about his heart holding.

West leads the heart ace and East drops the two, which must be a singleton when South also follows. (With a doubleton, East would have started a high-low.) So West continues with his heart king. What should East discard?

Obviously, East would like his partner to shift to a club. He can try to achieve that by pitching either the diamond four (low discouraging) or the club eight (high encouraging).

It is much better to place the club eight onto the table. The more spots on a card, the more likely partner is to notice.

Then it should be the work of a moment for West to lead the club 10, netting the first four tricks for the defense.

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