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The Independent Culture
WHEN YOU are defending and looking for a chance to defeat the contract - a chance that depends on your partner holding certain cards - it is a good principle to pitch your hopes as low as possible. East played for the less likely chance on this deal - would you have done any better?

South opened One Heart, North raised to Two Hearts, and South went directly to game. West led the queen of diamonds against Four Hearts and, after winning with his ace, East had a critical play to find. In practice he returned a spade, "up to the weakness in dummy", but it was not good enough. South played low and West won with his queen but now it was all over - one of declarer's clubs eventually went away on the jack of spades and he ended with only three losers.

When East tried a spade at trick two, he was effectively playing for his partner to hold two tricks in the suit - in other words, for at least the king and queen. So, what was a better prospect?

Well, you have enough clues by now - it may well be enough to find partner with the jack of clubs and just one spade trick. As you can see, a low club return at the second trick beats the contract, for now the defenders come to two club tricks as well as a spade and a diamond. Even if West had not held the jack of clubs, the (slender) possibility of finding him with two spade tricks would still remain.

Game all; dealer South


4J 7 6 2

!Q 10 8 3

#8 4

2K Q 9

West East

4Q 10 5 48 4 3

!6 4 !7 5

#Q J 10 5 3 #A 9 6 2

2J 7 2 2A 10 6 4


4A K 9

!A K J 9 2

#K 7

28 5 3