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The New York Times Bridge Column
By: Alan Truscott

Orginally Published in The New York Times, December 7, 1992

Being cheated by computer can be so educational that it is worthwhile to pay for the experience.

Would you care to play opponents who pass cards under the table, to insure that your play will fail? "No" is the wrong answer -- you should be willing to pay $59.95 for the privelege. The money should be sent to Bridge Base Inc., 2805 High Sail Court, Las Vegas, NV, USA 89117 (plus $5.00 S&H).

In return you will receive Fred Gitelman's "Bridge Master," which is the best computer software ever created for teaching dummy play on an IBM compatible computer.

If you call up level 4 (expert), you may find yourself with the North-South cards shown in the diagram.

The East-West cards, of course, are hidden. West leads a heart against three no-trump, and you quickly realize that it is hopeless to attack spades: The defenders will be able to take two spade tricks and at least three heart tricks to defeat you.

One obvious attempt, after winning the first trick, is to take the K and finesse the J. This will get you nine tricks with the cards as shown, but Bridge Master meanly switches the cards, giving West four clubs including the Q and 10.

A Test and a Safety Play

You can deal with that by cashing the A and leading the 8, playing low from dummy if West follows suit. That is a safety play to insure making three club tricks with this combination, but if you do that the computer will shift the cards back to the diagramed position.

To find out how to play the club suit, you must start by testing the diamonds. If they do not split evenly, you adopt plan A, finessing in clubs and hoping for four tricks in that suit. If the diamonds are split 3-3 you are up to eight tricks. Now you play the A, adopting plan B, the safety play to make three club tricks.

If you get this right, you will be rewarded with the name of a world-famous player. If you get it wrong, the program will give you a careful explanation.

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2805 High Sail Court, Las Vegas, NV, USA 89117 - (702) 341-9993 or 888-631-9581

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