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When you are lucky, make sure to cash in

When you are lucky, make sure to cash in

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Michael Levine, in "Lessons at the Halfway Point," wrote, "Successful people are very lucky. Just ask any failure."

Often when you give yourself a small extra chance to make a contract, it bears no fruit. Either the cards are so friendly that even the second-best play would have worked, or they are so foul that nothing succeeds. But if you keep trying, eventually a deal will come along on which your excellent technique is rewarded.

If you would like to see whether you are in midseason form, cover the East-West cards and plan your play in three spades. West starts by cashing three diamond winners, then shifts to a club.

There are days when you wish your partner had stayed in bed. North had that feeling after his partner opened three spades. But luckily no one doubled -- and South even made the contract!

After the three diamonds and club switch, declarer won in the dummy and cashed the heart winners to discard his club loser. Now he had to avoid two spade losers. If the opposing trumps were divided 3-3, there was nothing South could do; he would have to lose tricks to both the jack and king. But if they were breaking 4-2, he had one chance: an opponent holding jack-doubleton. (Finding someone with king-doubleton would do no good, as the jack would eventually score a trick.)

Declarer ruffed a club back to hand, cashed the spade ace and continued with the spade queen. South felt the appearance of the jack on his right was only right and proper! Declarer ruffed the heart return, drew trumps and claimed nine tricks.

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