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Some bridge-related resolutions

I hope you all had a happy holiday season … sorry about the missing column last week but once again London, snow, ice and computer glitches put paid to that.So, Happy New Year! From a bridge perspective, you need to make more than one New Year resolution so that the game will be even more enjoyable for you and your partners!On that score, here are a few suggestions.You will, this year , really try and go over the hands with your partner after a session and see where you went wrong and can improve.Post-mortems at the table are never very good, but if you don’t look back at what you and your partner did you will simply repeat the same mistakes over and over again.You will try and simplify your system so that your mind is clearer at the table. Throw out the one-in-a-hundred hand stuff and concentrate on the bids that come up time after time.You will agree on your leading methods with your partner... what do you lead from Ace-King, what do you lead from three small (MUD ? middle, up, down?), what do you lead from three small when leading partners suit (count? Up the line with odd and down the line with even?)You will agree your discarding arrangements with partner (suit preference? Lavinthal? Odd-even?). I like the middle one , Lavinthal, where your first discard is in a suit you do not want, and the size of the card indicates which suit you do want.So if declarer is drawing trump in spades and you throw ahigh heart it says you do not want hearts but want the higher ranking of the other suits diamonds. So a low diamond discard will look for? Clubs!You will lead partner’s bid suit unless you know (not think!) that another lead is right. It is good for partnership morale and, if nothing else, will teach partner to not bid with a terrible suit unless forced to!You will be consistent with your opening leads.You will be patient in defence and wait for your tricks. Let declarer play the hand so many contracts are allowed to make because the defence gets too active.You will think before playing at trick one. I could go on but this list should get you started !So , thinking at trick one ...This was a hand that came up in Valkenburg in 1980 when we played Turkey on Vu Graph.Board 3. E/W Vul. Dealer South.ªK852ªAQ2&Copy;AQJ107¨6ª ªª ª&Copy; &Copy;¨ ¨ªAQJ1052ªJ10&Copy;985¨K3The bidding was informative ... but not great !WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH1ªPass 4¨(1) Pass 4ª(2)Pass 6ª(3)(1) splinter inviting slam(2) refusal(3) bidding slam anyway!West , hearing the bidding , led the Ace of clubs and then switched to a shifty looking heart … over to you!Of course you must refuse the heart finesse! Why? Because even if it works, you still need the diamond finesse to be successful …and if the diamond finesse is successful then you never needed the heart finesse! Get what I mean?The full hand :Board 3. E/W Vul. Dealer South.ªK852ªAQ2&Copy;AQJ107¨6ª64 ª3ª7653 ªK984&Copy;K32 &Copy;64¨AJ105 ¨Q98742ªAQJ1097ªJ10&Copy;985¨K3Now that you are thinking , you rise with the heart Ace , draw trumps, take the diamond finesse, and when that works you claim! Well done!Again a Happy New Year to all …