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Posted on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 5:20 a.m.

Bridge column, October 12: How can you get partner on lead?

By Philip Adler

Lao-tzu, who is credited with founding Taoism in the sixth century B.C., said, "To lead people, walk behind them."

Is that the first example of back-seat driving?

It would be nice at the bridge table to have an expert sitting behind you, ready to steer you in the right direction. In today's deal, what would West's kibitzer advise? South is in four hearts. West leads the spade king: three, jack, two. West continues with the spade five: six, nine, ace. South then plays the ace and another heart. What happens after that?

North made a negative double, showing four hearts (or perhaps five or six when not strong enough to respond two hearts). South jumped aggressively to game.

What tricks can West see? One spade (the play has marked East with the J-10-9 and South with A-2), one heart and one diamond. However, it would be two diamonds if East could win a trick and shift to that suit. How might that happen?

Based on the bidding, East cannot have much. If he has the club queen, that will not help, because declarer can finesse the suit through East. A great card would be the heart jack. And East is marked with that card when South cashes the heart ace. With A-J-x-x of hearts, surely South would have crossed to dummy with a club and taken the heart finesse.

Under the heart ace, West must throw his king. Then East will gain the lead in hearts, and a diamond shift brings about the demise of declarer.

If a declarer-play point has occurred to you, tune in tomorrow.

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