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Posted on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Bridge column, March 12: First you see it, then you don't

By Phillip Alder

Caroline Gordon, a novelist and literary critic who died in 1981, said, "A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way."

Some bridge deals are like that. One side or the other seems destined to win a trick that is suddenly wafted away, as if on a magic carpet.

In this example, what happens in four hearts after West leads the club king?

North's three-heart response was a game-invitational limit raise showing at least four trumps, 10 to 12 support points and eight losers (two spades, three hearts, two diamonds and one club).

South's hand was a borderline raise because of all those losers, but the 10-card fit suggested optimism.

If West had only led something else, a spade winner could have been established to provide a discard for the club loser. Now, though, South seems to have four unavoidable losers: one spade, two hearts and one club.

There is just one chance. The diamonds need to be 3-3 and the hearts 2-1 with either opponent having a singleton honor.

After taking the first trick with dummy's club ace, declarer plays a diamond to his ace, cashes the diamond king, and plays a third round. When no one trumps in, he leads dummy's last diamond and discards his last club.

Here, if East ruffs, it costs the king, and West later gets only his ace. Or if West ruffs with his heart two, South takes the next trick and plays a trump, the ace and king crashing together.

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