Counting to 13
My daughter was among the kids born in the year 2000, which means she — and they — will never have much trouble remembering how old they are.

Dlr: South ♠ K 6
Vul: None Q J 4
9 6 3
♣ A 8 5 4 3
♠ A J 9 7 5 4 3 ♠ 10 2
9 6 5 3 8
J A Q 8 7 5 4 2
♣ K ♣ 10 9 6
♠ Q 8
A K 10 7 2
K 10
♣ Q J 7 2
South West North East
1 3♠ 4 All Pass

Opening lead — J
Counting at bridge is easy in principle; anyone can count to 13. But players neglect to do it because of laziness or lack of focus. In today’s deal, West led his singleton J against 4, and East took the ace and returned a diamond. West ruffed South’s king and cashed the ♠A.
Dummy’s king won the next spade — East followed with the 10 and deuce — and declarer drew trumps and next led the ♣Q. West’s king covered, but East’s 10-9-6 was worth the setting trick.

Seven Spades

South makes his game if he takes a moment to count. West had four trumps and one diamond and almost surely started with seven spades. Since West had 13 cards, he had only one club.
South’s only chance is to start the clubs by leading low from his hand, hoping West has the singleton king. South’s luck is good.
This week: counting practice.h2>Daily Question

You hold: ♠10 2 8 A Q 8 7 5 4 2  ♣10 9 6.
Both sides vulnerable. You deal and open 3. The next player bids 3, your partner doubles and the player at your right passes. What do you say?

Assuming your partner knows what he’s doing, Christmastime is here. Partner says he can beat 3, and you have an ace you might not have held. You may even get a spade ruff. Pass and prepare to collect your penalty.

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