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By Phillip Alder
Newspaper Enterprise Assn.
You are the declarer in a suit contract. What is your first order of business when the dummy has appeared?
No ó don’t panic. Stay calm and spend at least 30 seconds counting your losers and winners, and forming a plan. Here, you are in four hearts, and West has led the spade king.
Assuming dummy does not have more trumps than you, count losers by looking at your 13 cards and taking dummy’s high cards into account. Do that with this deal. Then count your winners. And how would you plan the play?
South’s jump to four hearts is aggressive, but I peeked and saw that he is receiving a suitable dummy.
You have four losers: two spades, one heart and one club.
You have 10 winners: one spade, six hearts and three diamonds.
So you have sufficient tricks available ó if you can collect them before the opponents take four.
There is a natural reaction to lead a trump. But be particularly careful when you do not have the trump ace. Here, if you win with the spade ace and play a heart, East will win with his heart ace, cash his club ace, and return a spade, West taking two tricks in that suit to defeat you.
You must eradicate one loser. You have only two diamonds in your hand and three in the dummy, and they are all winners. So, immediately cash your diamond ace, the honor from the shorter side first, play a diamond to dummy’s queen, and take the diamond king, discarding a spade or club from hand.
With your loser count reduced to three, play a trump.

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