Oscar Wilde said, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”

Not at the bridge table. If you play consistently and accurately, you will be hard to beat. And when you wish to master a particular card-play technique, consistency – repetition – is a great teaching tool. At least, I hope so, because here is another elimination-and-endplay deal.

South roars into four spades. West leads the heart jack. Which defender holds the diamond queen?

As I mentioned yesterday, some players with that North hand would respond four spades. But with no singleton, I think it is the wrong bid. The hand has a lot of losers, and with the opponents out of the auction, perhaps North-South can buy it in a making partscore. It would be different if, for example, West made a takeout double over one spade. Then North would have more to fear from an opposing heart contract. (However, I would still be loath to bid four spades.)

After North bids two spades, South’s jump to four spades is slightly aggressive with no short suit, but any time you smell game, bid game.

At first glance, South, with three club losers, must find the diamond queen – but not so, if he understands elimination and endplay.

Declarer wins the first trick, draws trumps, cashes his second heart winner, and exits with a club. The defenders take three tricks in the suit, but then the opponent on lead must either lead a diamond, finding the queen for South, or concede a ruff-and-sluff, on which declarer’s diamond loser disappears.

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