Mahatma Gandhi said, “The control of the palate is a valuable aid for the control of the mind.”

Bridge is a fascinating game. In today’s deal, for example, the final contract will control West’s mind on opening lead. Look at his hand. What would you lead against either four spades or six spades?

The auction is not clear-cut. Over one spade, West might have bid four diamonds, but he pulled his belt in one notch because of the prevailing vulnerability. Then North might have settled for the safe game when his partner showed no enthusiasm over the game-forcing cue-bid. However, he used Roman Key Card Blackwood to learn first that his partner had one ace, then the spade queen and the heart king.

Against four spades, West would surely have led the club two, hoping to get a ruff. South would have had no trouble taking 12 tricks.

Against six spades, though, because West knows his partner cannot have an ace, that club lead would be crazy. He should choose the diamond king. Declarer takes that with dummy’s ace and plays a trump. West wins and tries to cash the diamond queen, but South ruffs, draws trumps and has to find the club queen. What should he do?

First, he should cash his last trump and the heart tricks. He will learn that West started with 2=3=7=1 or 2=3=6=2 distribution (or maybe 2=4=6=1 or 2=4=7=0). South cashes dummy’s club king, then leads another club. I think finessing is just the favorite, but perhaps I am influenced by knowing the deal.

© 2017 United Feature Syndicate

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