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Posted on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Bridge column, November 9: Give him the lead when it helps you

By Philip Adler

Francois de La Rochefoucauld, a French writer, said, "Nothing is impossible; there are ways that lead to everything, and if we had sufficient will, we should always have sufficient means. It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible."

It is a wild overbid to say that nothing is impossible. But if we stick to realistic goals, we can often succeed -- especially if we have the right thought at the key moment.

How is that relevant in today's deal? South is in four hearts. West opens with the diamond king. When East encourages with the nine, West cashes the diamond queen and leads his third diamond. After ruffing, how should South proceed?

North wanted to respond two no-trump to show a balanced hand with 13 to 15 points. But that would have been the Jacoby Forcing Raise, guaranteeing at least four-card heart support. So North improvised with a two-club response. Then, when South rebid two hearts, North jumped to game, a slight overbid but justified by the expectation of at least a nine-card fit.

The "simple" line of play is to draw trumps, cash the spade ace, and play a spade to dummy's jack. If the finesse wins, the club finesse can be tried for an overtrick. If the spade finesse loses, the club finesse is still available. But then declarer remembered that finesses never work on Fridays!

Instead, after drawing trumps ending on the board, South called for the last diamond, and when East produced the eight, declarer discarded a club.

East was endplayed, forced to lead a black suit and concede a 10th trick to South.

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