Douglas Adams, in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” wrote, “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

When you are declaring a bridge deal, you try to find the safest road to make your contract. However, even if you choose the one that is mathematically best, you might end up in a black hole, going down because you were unlucky. Still, it is amazing how in bridge columns, the right approach works!

What should South do in four hearts after West cashes his two top spades, then shifts to the diamond jack?

Although that South hand contains only 11 high-card points, it is well worth a one-level opening bid, with that excellent six-card suit, two aces and no rebid problem.

South can see four losers: two spades and two diamonds. He has only nine top tricks: six hearts, one diamond and two clubs. He must play to establish a third club winner. But, because he will probably have to ruff two low clubs in his hand, he must be careful with his dummy entries.

Declarer wins the third trick with his diamond ace and cashes the heart ace. But then he turns his attention to the clubs. He plays a club to the king, cashes the ace, ruffs a club high, leads a low heart to dummy’s nine, ruffs another club high, crosses to the heart king (drawing West’s last trump in the process), and discards a diamond on the winning club seven.

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