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Posted on Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Bridge column, December 4: Lots of information in a small space

By Philip Adler

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Ron Klinger from Australia has written two more contributions to Weidenfeld & Nicolson's Master Bridge Series: "Improve Your Slam Bidding" and "Improve Your Play at Trump Contracts." Labeled improver/intermediate, they contain a lot of useful material, although the bidding book will be most beneficial to regular partnerships.

In the play book, there are 80 deals taken from tournaments, some of which are not straightforward. The reader gets a chance to solve the problem before turning the page to see the full layout and the correct line of play.

In this deal, how should South plan the play in four spades after West cashes two top diamonds, then shifts to a heart?

North's two-heart response was a transfer bid, showing five-plus spades and any point-count. South's three-spade rebid guaranteed four-card spade support and a maximum. (This hand was borderline because of the potentially useless queen-doubleton of diamonds.)

There are possible losers in both black suits. If the club finesse is working, there will be no problems, but if it is losing, the spade queen will have to be found.

The key is the bidding. Since West passed as dealer and had seven points in diamonds, he will not have both the spade queen and club king. As a consequence, declarer should play a spade to dummy's ace, followed by a spade to his jack. Here the finesse wins, so South draws the last trump and tries the club finesse for an overtrick. But if the spade finesse loses, the club finesse must be winning and the contract is safe.

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