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If one opponent plays a critical card in a suit, his partner is twice as likely to have the adjacent card in the same suit. This is because of the Principle of Restricted Choice (“PRC”) - a mathematical theory that was found to have relevance at the bridge table by Terence Reese. He first expounded the theory in his epic book “The Expert Game”, written in 1958 - an inspirational read for any ambitious player.
♠ A 10 5 3 2
♥ A Q 3
♦ A Q 3
♣ K Q
♠ Q 9 8
♥ 10 9 8 6
♦ 8 4 2
♣ 9 7 5
♥ 5 4 2
♦ 10 9 6 5
♣ 10 8 4 3 2
♠ K 7 6 4
♥ K J 7
♦ K J 7
♣ A J 6
|Pass||4 N||Pass||5 ♦|
|Pass||5 N||Pass||6 ♠|
|7 ♠ by South|
North used the Blackwood convention (4NT) to ask for aces, and when his partner’s 5♦ response (one ace) revealed that all aces were present, he bid 5NT to ask for kings. South’s 6♠ response indicated possession of the three missing kings so North bid the Grand Slam.
West’s ♥10 lead ran to declarer’s ♥J and declarer cashed ♠K. East’s ♠J fell and declarer used PRC to deduce that West was now twice as likely to hold the adjacent card - ♠Q. Thus when he followed by leading ♠4 and West played ♠9, he crossed his fingers and inserted ♠10. East discarded a ♣ so he breathed a sigh of relief, cashed ♠A felling West’s ♠Q, and claimed his Grand Slam.
ANDREW’S TIP: When one opponent plays a critical card in a suit, play his partner to have the adjacent card in the same suit.