THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder

Fulke Greville, an English poet who died in 1628, said, “The criterion of true beauty is that it increases on examination; if false, that it lessens.”
At the bridge table, the beauty of a deal can increase upon careful analysis. Sometimes, though, the key play is a falsecard.
What should happen in this deal after West leads the heart ace against three no-trump?
Before getting to the answer, some pairs use interesting honor leads against no-trump. They choose one card, either the ace or king (I prefer the king), when they have a very strong suit. It asks partner either to unblock an honor or to give count. With that agreement, West would lead his “big” card here, happy if East could throw the queen onto the table. (Assuming the king is “big,” then an ace-lead is from a weaker ace-king holding, asking partner to signal attitude. And a queen-lead is from either a weak king-queen or a good queen-jack.) If that appeals to you, discuss it carefully with your partners.
Using standard leads and signals, East should play his heart three at trick one, discouraging. Then South must drop his seven. He has to try to persuade West that East started with Q-3-2 of hearts and was doing the best he could by playing the three. Agreed, it should not work. West’s ace-lead should not be from a holding weaker than ace-king-jack-fourth. And if that is true, East can afford to play his queen from Q-3-2.
West should shift at trick two, and whichever suit he chooses, East will get in with his club ace and can lead his second heart through South’s queen to defeat the contract by two tricks.

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