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Spots matter

As I have learned to play bridge, my appreciation for spot cards has increased.

Recently a friend who is an excellent player - as well as a master of understatement - showed me these layouts:

Q95

opposite 

AJ842

and 

Q95

opposite 

AJ832

You need 5 tricks from the suit with no losers.

At first it looks like the line which is best holding the 4 is one of two equal lines holding the 3.

But if you think a little more, in the real world there is a layout where a misplay is possible on the line which is inferior when holding the 4.

For minimal cost against best defense, you can take advantage of the misplay; this modified line seems better when holding the 3.

The kicker: the layouts that you pick up don't just change a little bit, they are completely flip flopped:

- Against every layout that you expect to pick up holding the 4 and playing accordingly, you go down against best defense when holding the 3 and taking the line I suggest

- Against every layout that you expect to pick up against best defense holding the 3 and playing as I suggest, you go down holding the 4 and playing accordingly

Find the lines and tell me if you agree the misdefense is worth playing for.

What a great game!

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