Ted Horning has written the daily syndicated column Canadian Bridge with Torstar Syndicate for over eighteen years-6600 columns and has been teaching bridge for more than thirty years. He has represented Canadian in different World Championship events. IMPs Dealer North. Both Vul
 Q 7 A J 3 K Q 10 9 8 10 3 2 A 8 6 5 2 Q 10 8 7 6 A 6 2 —
 West North East South 1 Pass 2 Dbl Pass 2 3NT Pass Pass Pass
Opening lead: 5 Dummy’sQ captured the first trick. East followed with the J and South the three. Dummy’s10 followed. East’s King was taken by South with the ace, West discarding the 6J. South now presents a mild surprise by leading the5, instead of a diamond.

Plan the defense for West.

Play the Q. Think the situation through. The bidding and play at trick one revealed that South has only two spades. HisK will drop next time and West can only hope that East was paying attention to the spot cards and will unblock later if you cash theA. However, that isn’t the entire problem. If South has six clubs in his hand, he may be able to win nine tricks without another spade trick and without any diamonds tricks. Look at the situation this way. If south needs to take the heart finesse, he will certainly do so, in light of your vulnerable take out double. You can´t prevent South from winning three heart tricks if that is his intent and it doesn’t matter whether you play theQ or low heart. On the other hand, what if South has only two hearts ( K -5) and requires two entries to the dummy rather than three heart tricks? In that case, you must play theQ now to deprive South of a second heart entry. If you play low, South can finesseJ and later, overtake theK with theA, to obtain those entries. Hand like this should alert you to the fact that certain bridge maxims such “as second hand low” are only generalities. They are not substitute for thought. The complete deal:
 Q 7 A J 3 K Q 10 9 8 10 3 2 A 8 6 5 2 Q 10 8 7 6 A 6 2 — J 10 9 6 9 4 2 5 3 K 9 8 6 K 3 K 5 J 7 4 A Q J 7 5 4

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