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After the same play, a different result

After the same play, a different result

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Evan Esar, in his "Comic Dictionary," defined statistics as the only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions.

If today's deal is giving you a feeling of deja vu, do not worry. The North-South hands are identical to yesterday's. But as the East-West hands have been rearranged, the declarer must adopt a different approach.

Against three no-trump, West leads the spade six. As we saw yesterday, with only two cards on the board, South should call for the king. Yesterday, he took the trick, but today, East won with the ace and returned the spade 10. What should declarer have done now?

South began with eight top tricks: one spade (given the first trick), three hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. The ninth trick would have to come from hearts or clubs.

First, though, declarer ducked the second spade and took the third with his queen. Now he had to try to stop West from winning a trick because presumably he had two spade winners to cash.

So, South took his three heart winners. No luck there; West discarded a diamond on the third round.

Now it was time to turn to clubs. The key for declarer was to realize that if the club finesse was winning, he did not need to take it. South played his club ace and king. Here, the queen dropped doubleton from West -- the ideal development. But if the queen had not appeared, declarer would have played a third club and hoped that East took the trick.

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