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Posted on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Bridge column, October 11: Safety first gives more plus scores

By Philip Adler

Hugh Walpole, an English novelist who died in 1941, said, "Don't play for safety -- it's the most dangerous thing in the world."

Clearly he was never a bridge player. It is silly, unless you are playing in a matchpointed pair event, to risk your contract for the sake of an overtrick. Playing with safety is the most sensible thing in our world.

Can you find the safe play in this deal? South is in six no-trump. West leads the club queen.

In the modern auction, two no-trump was the Jacoby Forcing Raise: four-plus spades and game-forcing values. Four spades indicated a minimum with no singleton or void. Four no-trump was Roman Key Card Blackwood, North's reply showing three key cards (three aces or, as here, two aces and the trump king). Five hearts asked for the trump queen, five spades denying that card. This persuaded South to settle for six no-trump.

South, with three hearts, three diamonds and two clubs, needs four spade tricks, not five. He wins the first trick, then leads a low spade from his hand and plays dummy's king, whatever West does. Here, when West discards, South just leads spades through East's holding. But if East discards at trick two, declarer plays a spade to his ace and leads one back toward the jack.

Yes, South could play low from the board to his nine first, but that would lose an overtrick when West has the singleton queen.

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