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ON BRIDGE

If you play the stock market, you'll know this Wall Street adage: Sometimes the bulls win, sometimes the bears win; but the pigs always lose.

South took the jack of clubs and was willing to invest a certain 800 points to get a possible 920 points: a glittering 15% return. He led a heart to the king and returned a diamond to the queen. (East dropped the queen of hearts under the king to show his sequence.)
South's play gave him a chance for 13 tricks; but West took the king of diamonds and led another heart, forcing out the ace. When East threw a spade on the next diamond, South's stock bottomed out: he couldn't use the diamonds and went down one.

Greed ruins as many bridge players as it does investors. South must lead the ace of diamonds at Trick Two and the queen next. He wins West's heart return, concedes another diamond and leads a heart to dummy for the good diamonds.

This play guarantees nine tricks and often produces 12 tricks and 890 points.

You hold: A K 8 6 5 3 A Q 4 A K J 3. With both sides vulnerable, your partner opens three hearts. The next player passes. What do you say?

A: If partner is a sound bidder, raise to six hearts; his hand will be worth seven tricks, and you'll provide the other five. If I had any doubts whatever about partner's bidding or his skill as declarer, though, I'd settle for four hearts. I'd take the cash and let the slam go.

South dealer

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

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