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ON BRIDGE

When today's play starts, East-West have five trumps; South's best chance to pick up the queen is a finesse. But what if a defender uses a trump to ruff before South manages to draw trumps?

East won the first heart and gave West a ruff. West then led a club, and East won and returned a club. South won, led a trump to the ace, returned a diamond to dummy, led another trump and huddled. Finally, he put up the king and went down.

"What were you thinking about?" North asked.

"Trying to figure the new odds on dropping the queen."

North hrumpfed, as well he might. South needed no complex calculations. All he had to do was assume East had defended like a bridge player. If West had the queen of trumps, East could beat the contract by leading a third heart. East led a club because he didn't want South to see that West couldn't overruff dummy.

Actually, East gives away the show whatever he does; but only if South thinks logically, not mathematically.

You hold: Q 6 3 A 7 6 4 3 7 3 A 9 7. Dealer, at your left, opens one club. Your partner doubles, and the next player raises to two clubs. What do you say?

A: Bid four hearts. Partner has at least a minimum opening bid with help for the unbid suits. Since he's likely to have four cards in hearts and a singleton club, the play will go well at a heart contract; you'll make game with an overtrick more often than not.

South dealer

Both sides vulnerable
NORTH
J 9 4
10 8
A J 8 4
K Q 10 5
WEST
8 5
2
Q 10 9 5 2
J 6 4 3 2
EAST
Q 6 3
A 7 6 4 3
7 3
A 9 7
SOUTH
A K 10 7 2
K Q J 9 5
K 6
8
South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 2 NT Pass
4 Pass 4 All Pass
Opening lead -- 2

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