Bridge

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IT HAS been said that the major factor in the make-up of a good bridge player is the ability to count up to 13. Everyone agrees - but they still don't do it at the table. With that clue, I expect you would have done better than East on this deal.

West opened One Diamond, North overcalled with One Heart, and East bid One Spade. With the best hand, South tried 2 no-trumps and persisted with 3 no-trumps when his partner retreated to Three Clubs. It seemed clear to West that declarer had both the diamonds and the spades well held, and also that he was not keen on his partner's hearts. This persuaded him to find the imaginative lead of the jack of hearts which went to the king and ace.

East returned the seven of diamonds and, after winning South's jack with his queen, West reverted to hearts. Although it looked natural to cover the nine with the ten, declarer played low from dummy. As overtaking with his queen would present declarer with three tricks in the suit, East let the nine hold. Now the defence was finished - though declarer did not come to any heart tricks, he had no trouble in making game with four clubs, four spades and a diamond.

If East had counted? Well, he might have concluded that (as long as his partner held the ace of clubs) he could overtake the nine of hearts with his queen and push through another diamond. Certainly declarer now makes three heart tricks but only his four spades and a diamond as well, thus going one down when West's diamonds are established while he still has the ace of clubs.

Love all; dealer West

North

4K 3

!K 10 8 4 2

#8

2K Q 10 9 8

West East

49 410 8 7 6 4 2

!J 9 !A Q 7 6

#K Q 9 5 4 3 2 #7 6

2A 3 2 24

South

4A Q J 5

!5 3

#A J 10

2J 7 6 5

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