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Posted on Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 5 a.m.

Bridge column, November 4: Drawing trumps can require care

By Phillip Alder

Mark Twain said, "Tell the truth or trump -- but get the trick."

That does not apply at the bridge table. There are many deals in which you must intentionally lose a trick for the long-term good.

You are in four spades. West leads the diamond ace, under which East drops the queen. West then shifts to the spade queen. How would you continue? As a secondary issue, what defense defeats four spades whatever you do?

North bid four spades in the hope that his club suit would prove useful.

Note East's trick-one play. When East drops the queen under an ace-lead that promises the king, he shows that he also holds the jack (or a singleton queen, which is impossible here). When a defender cannot win the trick, he plays the top of touching honors.

You have five losers: one spade and four diamonds. If you had been given the opportunity, you would have ruffed two diamonds in the dummy. Now, though, if you take trick two and play a diamond, a defender will win the trick and lead another trump. You will try to discard your diamonds on dummy's clubs, but West will ruff the third round and cash a diamond for down one.

You must lose one trump trick whatever happens, so do it immediately. Let West hold trick two. Then, as soon as you can, draw trumps and run the clubs.

To defeat the contract, West must lead a club. If you play three rounds of trumps, the defenders cash four diamonds. If you duck a trump, West leads another club, cutting you off from the dummy. But who would ever find that?

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