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Overtricks are for minus scores

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Updated: March 12, 2013 6:11AM



Jay Leno said, “Major League Baseball has asked its players to stop tossing baseballs into the stands during games, because they say fans fight over them and they get hurt. In fact, the Florida Marlins said that’s why they never hit any home runs. It’s a safety issue.”

I assume that was produced by a scriptwriter — but no doubt Leno’s delivery was equally important.

Unless you are in an event where overtricks can be important (pairs or board-a-match), you should play your contracts as safely as possible. And if you succeed in a particularly tough deal, it will feel like a home run.

This three-no-trump contract would result in an out for many declarers at the table. How should South play after West leads the club nine?

North’s three-heart rebid promised five or more spades, four or more hearts and at least game-forcing values. (However, if North had six spades and only game interest, he might have jumped straight to four spades, keeping his heart suit hidden.)

West did not want to lead! Eventually he chose the unbid suit.

South has eight top tricks: three spades, one diamond and four clubs. And those spades will surely provide at least one extra winner. But if declarer cashes his spade ace and plays a spade to dummy’s queen, he is called out — his contract has no chance. Instead, South should finesse dummy’s spade 10 on the second round. When it wins, he rounds the bases to home. But even if the 10 loses to a potential jack with East, dummy’s three remaining spades will be high and a run will be scored.



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