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You can’t say better than that

BRIDGE By David Ezekiel I’ve been writing this column for some 30 plus years now and though it is some work getting it out every week, it’s something I enjoy as it keeps me focused on the game even when I’m not playing. Some weeks the hand comes easily to me, either from a hand I’ve recently played, or seen, and at other times it is a bit of a struggle, but I rarely miss my deadline. Often I come up with a card combination play I’d like to illustrate, and then build a hand around it, and most of the time that also comes easily. This week’s hand, however, caused a lot of head scratching , and a call to my friend Allan Graves, but in the end it all came good. Board 1. Love All. Dealer North. S Q103 H AJ D KQJ1073 C A2 S 84 S AJ975 H 98654 H K102 D A62 D 9 C J87 C Q1093 S K62 H Q73 D 854 C K654 WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH 1D 1S 1NT Pass 3NT All Pass West led the eight of spades, and at one table declarer played the ten from dummy, and when East played the jack, declarer won the king. The contract was now doomed, as when West got in with the Ace of diamonds, another spade led to a one trick defeat. At another table declarer played the ten from dummy and when East played the jack declarer ducked. It worked like a charm on this hand as the communications were now cut between the defenders, and declarer was safe very nice. But was it correct? What if East held the Ace of diamonds as he rates to do on the bidding? He would now clear the spade suit, and wait to get in with the diamond, and again the contract is down one. So, if East holds the Ace of diamonds, it would have paid to win the King at trick one. So, which play is correct? Between these two plays it is almost 50-50 but since East, by bidding, is more likely to hold the diamond Ace. I would win the first spade, not the winning play on this deal, but, that is neither here, nor there. Have you spotted the correct play? It is highly unusual, but, at trick one declarer must play the queen of spades from dummy. This totally freezes the spade suit. If East doesn’t win, declarer has another spade stopper, and if East does win, he cannot continue spades without giving up two spade tricks, and cutting communication with partner. So, the play of the spade queen at trick one wins, no matter who has the diamond Ace. And you can’t do more than a 100% guaranteed play.