Counting at bridge comes in many forms — one of which is to keep track of the number of high cards each player has shown. This deal from R14 is a typical example: Board 31. Dealer South. N/S Vul.
 A J 9 4 Q J 10 9 A 10 5 7 3 K 8 7 K 8 6 5 4 Q 9 4 A J
 West North East South Pass 1 Pass 1 Pass 2 Pass 4 End
South leads the K and you win with the ace and play two rounds of hearts, South winning the second as North discards the 6. South exits with the 6 and you elect to put up dummy’s ace, draw the outstanding trump and play the 5. North takes the king and plays the 5, South winning with the queen and exiting with the J. You win with the queen and these cards remain:
 A J 9 4 J K 8 7 K 8
Having lost three tricks, you need to locate the Q. Any ideas? Declarer cashed the K to discover this was the full deal:
 Q 6 5 3 2 7 K 7 2 10 6 5 4 A J 9 4 Q J 10 9 A 10 5 7 3 K 8 7 K 8 6 5 4 Q 9 4 A J 10 A 3 2 J 8 6 3 K Q 9 8 2
Were you counting South’s points? He has already shown up with the A, J, KQ but passed as dealer, making North an overwhelming favourite to hold the Q. So the indicated play is to cross to dummy with the A and advance the J. In the Closed Room South’s somewhat unlucky lead of the 10 had given declarer an easy route to eleven tricks and +650, so the cost was 10 IMPs. Mark Horton: Mark Horton British journalist and expert player, was Editor of Bridge Magazine 1995-2017 and now edits the free online publication A New Bridge Magazine. At one time, his business cards were inscribed: Have Cards will Travel, but following the death of his most famous sponsor, the Rabbi Leonard Helman, he has tended to concentrate on his writing exploits (in 2018 he had five books published!). Anyone wanting to discover how to lose at bridge on a regular basis (and pay for the privilege) should feel to contact him. He currently lives in Shrewsbury with his wife Liz.

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