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Watch those cards!

Guessing which opponent holds a missing queen is a crucial ability in one’s quest to be a successful bridge player. The odds - with no other clue - are that if you and dummy are missing five cards including the queen (but no other picture card) you should finesse, but if you are missing four cards you should bang down the ace and king and hope for the queen to “drop”. 

South Deals
N-S Vul
♠ J 7 5
A K 9 8
Q 7 6
♣ A 8 6
♠ A K Q
Q 7 6
8 5 2
♣ 10 5 4 3
W   E
♠ 9 4 3 2
10 9 4
♣ Q J 9 7 2
  ♠ 10 8 6
J 10 5 3 2
A K J 3
♣ K
West North East South
Pass 4 Pass Pass
4 by South

West cashed ♠AKQ then switched to ♣3. Declarer won ♣K and had to avoid losing a trick to ♥Q to make his game. The odds told him to bang out ♥AK and hope for ♥Q to fall. But after leading to dummy’s ♥K, he did not cash ♥A. Instead he crossed back to ♦A and led ♥J, running it successfully when West played ♥7. He then drew West’s ♥Q with ♥A. Why had he played against the odds?

The reason was quite simple. After following with ♥4 to the first round of trumps, declarer had noticed East re-sort his hand. This strongly implied he was now void of ♥s and was alternating the colours of the remaining suits in his hand.

Note that declarer is not allowed to stare at an opponent or his cards but he is allowed to notice such obvious movements as were made by East; and note that East is not allowed to deliberately mislead declarer by feigning a re-sort when he is not void.

ANDREW’S TIP: Do not re-sort you hand when you have run out of a suit or declarer may use the fact that you are void to his advantage!

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