Bridge

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The Independent Culture
CERTAINLY THE slam that North-South reached on this deal was a good one, though it would have failed if West had found a diamond lead. As it was, South was still in business in spite of the bad trump break.

South opened One Heart and North responded with 4 no-trumps (Roman Key Card Blackwood). Over a response of Five Spades (two key cards and the queen of hearts) he planned to go for the grand but, when he heard an ace was missing, he settled for the small slam.

On lead against Six Hearts, West (very much in the dark) led the eight of spades. Declarer won, played off the ace and queen of trumps, and winced when he found the bad break. What had appeared to be a simple affair now set problems. If, however, he could guess the clubs successfully, dummy's losing diamond could go away. With no apparent clues, he led a low club to the ace and followed by running the jack. This lost to the queen and West had no trouble in switching to a diamond, all of which led to a two- trick defeat.

Quite apart from the result, why should declarer have played the clubs the other way? Well, even if East does hold the missing queen of clubs, he could cover the jack. Fine, the losing diamond goes away, but now declarer lacks the entries to ruff a spade and to return to dummy for the rest of the suit.

Try finessing the jack of clubs on the first round; as the cards lie, this wins. Declarer cashes the ace, ruffs a low spade in hand and discards the losing diamond. Then a trump to the king leaves dummy high except for the inevitable trump loser.

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