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When do you come to the net?

 My friend Espen Erichsen plays bridge as he plays tennis — by minimising his own errors and inducing opposing errors. He is Tunbridge Wells’ number one (that’s tennis as well as bridge).

“When do you come to the net?” I casually asked him.
“To congratulate my opponent on a fine match, and hear them wish me luck for the next match,” he replied pithily. No serve, volley, error routine for Espen.

Watch Espen draw the crucial inference to make this 4  from the English Premier League. When West led the jack of spades, declarer knew he had broken honours in all the other suits. For who would lead the jack of trumps with a safe alternative? (Exposing the jack could be disastrous on many trump layouts).

South Deals
None Vul
Q 10 9 7 5 2
A 5 2
J 10
K 4
K 8 4
A Q 9 7 5
Q 9 7 5
W   E
6 4 3
Q 10 9 3
8 6 2
10 6 3
A K 8
J 7 6
K 4 3
A J 8 2
West North East South
      1 NT1
Pass 2 2 Pass 2 
Pass 4 3 All pass  
  1. 15-17.
  2. Transfer to spades.
  3. Knowing of the eight-card spade fit and the values for game.

Winning the jack of spades with dummy’s queen, at trick two declarer ran the jack of diamonds, hoping East held the queen. No — West won the queen and now found the best return of a low heart. Declarer ducked this trick to East’s queen and East returned the ten of hearts, declarer running this to dummy’s ace.

The simple line from here is the club finesse (cash the king, low to the jack) but, reading West for the queen (for his jack of spades lead), declarer opted for an endplay. He crossed to the ace-king of spades (West showing up singleton), returned to the king of clubs, then ran dummy’s spades, discarding diamonds from hand.

Look below at the ending as the last spade is led:

Q 9
W   E
10 6

Declarer threw the king of diamonds from hand and West was poleaxed. He had to keep the two red-suit cards, so away went his penultimate club. Declarer promptly led a club to his ace, felling West’s queen and scored his tenth trick with the promoted jack. game made.

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