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Defending when seeing 28 cards

Defending when seeing 28 cards

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Holly Lisle, a novelist who also gives classes for budding authors, wrote, "If you don't accept responsibility for your own actions, then you are forever chained to a position of defense."

When a bridge player is on defense, he usually takes responsibility for his actions -- although sometimes he needs to be guided by his partner.

Today's deal occurred during the bronze-medal playoff in the Polish League Final Four. This was the first live bridge event in Poland since the coronavirus lockdown. It was played in Warsaw over the last weekend of June.

Sitting East and West were Wlodzimierz Starkowski and Michal Kwiecien. They defeated four spades. Looking at all 52 cards, can you see how they did it after West led the diamond ace?

East's three-diamond response was preemptive. With game-invitational values or more, he would have responded two no-trump. This pushed North-South into the thin game.

Upside-down signals have been the norm in Poland forever. They even lead low from doubletons and the middle card from a tripleton. (The first time I used those methods, I was amazed how well they worked.) Under West's diamond ace, East signaled with the 10, the high card showing an odd number and the very high card being a suit-preference signal for hearts. So, at trick two, West shifted to a heart.

Declarer played a trump off the board, but East hopped up with the king and returned his second heart. Then, when West got in with his spade ace, he gave his partner a heart ruff.

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