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Posted on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 5 a.m.

Bridge column, December 21: Another trap is lying in wait

By Phillip Alder

Alexander Smith, a Scottish poet who died in 1867, said: "In life there is nothing more unexpected and surprising than the arrivals and departures of pleasure. If we find it in one place today, it is vain to seek it there tomorrow."

In bridge, since we lose so much, we get great pleasure from success. However, if we find success in defense today, we might not seek it in vain in declarer play tomorrow.

In today's deal, West leads the heart 10 against four spades. When he holds the trick, he plays his second heart. East wins with his jack, cashes the king and continues with his ace. What should South do now?

When North raised to two spades, he promised only three-card support. So South, despite his unappealing heart holding, rebid three no-trump. However, North, since he did have four spades, correctly went for the major-suit game. (Note that three no-trump is unmakable after any lead.)

South starts with eight top tricks: four spades, three diamonds and one club. So he needs two ruffs in one hand or the other. And the defense has pushed him into trumping in his own hand, which conveniently keeps dummy's high trumps to remove the four unsportingly held by East.

South ruffs high at trick four. He draws one round of trumps using a winner in the dummy. Then he plays a diamond to his king (the honor from the shorter side first), leads his other diamond to dummy's queen, and ruffs the diamond seven with his other high spade. At last he can draw trumps and claim.

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