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The Independent Online
THE "Card Play Made Easy" series by Ron Klinger and Andrew Kambites (Master Bridge Series, Victor Gollancz, pounds 6.99) seems to be proving popular with keen improvers. The ideas contained come across clearly, which makes them more readily identifiable at the table when similar situations occur. Today's hand is adapted from the third book in the series - Trump Management. The point illustrated is simple enough, and may perhaps seem too obvious, yet I've seen similar situations to this one mishandled many times.

The object is simply to make your 10-trick contract of Four Spades. The lead is the jack of diamonds, on which East plays the ace and returns the queen.

On the layout of the East-West cards themselves you can play the king with no danger, and so come to 12 tricks, since your losing hearts will go away on dummy's established diamonds.

But should you play the king and so risk going down? Suppose that the lead of the jack had been a singleton. Now your king would be ruffed and a heart is returned. As the ten of diamonds is still outstanding, the suit is not established for heart discards, so you will now lose a heart in addition to two diamonds and a ruff. Nine tricks instead of 12!

In this instance the instinct to cover queens with kings should be resisted. If the layout is as shown in the diagram you will make 11 rather than 12 tricks, but if the lead was a singleton you will make 10 tricks, which is what you need to fulfil your contract.

Game all; dealer South


4K 10 6 4

!7 4

#9 8 6 5 3 2


West East

49 5 48 2

!K J 8 3 !Q 10 9 5

#J 10 #A Q

2K 9 5 3 2 2Q 10 8 6 4


4A Q J 7 3

!A 6 2

#K 7 4

2A J