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In the Zone
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i am, by nature, an instinctive player. Often times I wind up looking foolish, but every now and then, the cards are as I "see" them.

in our NAP run, an opportunity to test my instincts arose about halfway through the first final. 

I might have opened 1N but as it happened opps had to make a blind lead. Plan the play on a low club lead.

 

North
K932
KJ
Q72
Q1042
South
QJ754
A9
KJ4
A87
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
3
P
4
P
P
P

 

 

The first hurdle is how to play clubs; a misguess could lead to a ruff. I could play for kx onside and score 3 club tricks but j 4th seemed unlikely. Taking best shot at 2 tricks in clubs and ruff avoidance I rose Q which held. 3, q, 5, 7.

It seems normal to lead a low trump to hand, and very nearly did just that. Stopping to consider the lead, lho made an attacking lead suggesting rho will hold values. Catering to all trumps with lho is easy but is it likely? That would give rho 11 red cards and LHO might have led a short red suit as well. I did not believe that to be the case and started with SK, not expecting it to really matter and saw k, A, 4, 5. Not out of the woods yet but in with a chance. Rho returned their other club 9, a, 6, 2. I need 2 entries to pick up rhos trump holding and I have them (in a sense). Cross to k and lead spade, rho splits as expected and I have to get back to dummy. 

it is better to play rho for a as it does not require anything else (barring 4423 shape with rho). Bang out king, then jack, and another diamond if necessary (need to cash 2nd heart if going this route first). Rho will have to grant us the entry to pick up spades. Opponents were playing odd/even discards and while false cards are routine defensive tools, given the lead I chose to believe lho. I dont think I should cash 2nd heart, keeping the defense in the dark somewhat with my holding there, but I did. I can't afford to lead honor from hand as that may encourage lho to duck, win a later diamond and play 2 more rounds of clubs allowing rho to shed last diamond. Backing my read, I led low to Q which held. picked up trumps and claimed 10 tricks for a fine score.

as it happened, lho could have risen with a and defeated me as rho was 22 in the minors, I'd needed to put in t at trick 1 to avoid that fate. Even in the zone bridge is a humbling game.

 

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