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Posted on Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5 a.m.

Bridge column, November 5: Count winners to avoid losers

By Phillip Alder

David Gerrold wrote an epic series called "The War Against the Chtorr." A collection of quotes from that was published in "The Quotebook of Solomon Short," which includes: The only winner in the War of 1812 was Tchaikovsky.

Good bridge players count winners and losers. Do that in this deal, then decide how you would play in four spades after West leads the club king. What was his more effective opening lead?

North might have rebid one no-trump, but the two-spade raise was logical with such weak hearts. If North had rebid one no-trump, the auction might have continued two hearts - two spades - three spades - four spades. After the two-spade raise, your jump to game was a reasonable gamble.

Looking at your 13 cards and taking dummy's high cards into account, you should see four losers: three hearts and one diamond. You have nine winners: six spades, one heart, one diamond and one club. How will you eliminate one loser and gain one winner?

A common answer in a suit contract is to ruff a loser in the shorter trump hand. Here, ruff your last heart in the dummy (unless hearts break 3-3, when your last heart will be a winner).

Take dummy's club ace, play a heart to your ace, and lead another heart. Suppose they shift to a trump. Win in the dummy and play a third heart. Take East's second spade lead in your hand, ruff your last heart, ruff a club, draw East's last trump, and claim.

To beat you, West had to lead his trump, always a tall task when it is a singleton.

Copyright 2011. Dist. by Universal Uclick for UFS