Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


THIS WAS a curious deal from the World Senior Teams in Lille. At the table I watched, South opened One Spade, North responded Two Hearts and the British East (Boris Schapiro) tried an Unusual 2 no-trumps. This led his partner to sacrifice in Five Clubs after their opponents had reached Four Hearts and, as it was not difficult for the defenders to find their diamond ruff, the doubled penalty was 300 points.

Afterwards one player remarked: "Four Hearts is a make but not Four Spades". Now, was this quite true? In spite of the bad trump break, there is nothing the defenders can do against Four Spades.

At the other table East-West were far more restrained - East contenting himself with a simple overcall in diamonds after his initial pass - and the final contract was Four Hearts by North. East led the king of diamonds (what else?) and Howard Cohen, as North, made no mistake in the play. He won with his ace, ruffed a diamond, and cashed the two top clubs to discard a spade - the key play. Now a club ruff and another diamond ruff left him with just his three top losers.

Was there a defence to Four Hearts? Yes, but it is not obvious. The only way East can get his spade ruff for the setting trick is by leading a trump!

It is odd, is it not, that the 4-0 break in the spade side suit made the heart game a practical certainty while a normally more amiable 3-1 division would likely have led to defeat.

North-South game; dealer East


410 9 3

!K 10 9 7 5 3

#A 9 3


West East

4A K 8 5 4none

!A 6 !4 2

#10 4 2 #K Q J 8 7 6

2Q J 10 9 27 6 5 3 2


4Q J 7 6 4 2

!Q J 8


2A K 8