BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
EAST TRIED a natural-looking defence on this deal but it did not quite work. Later - much later - it occurred to him that he might have done better.

North opened One Club, East overcalled with Two Hearts, and South tried Two Spades. West then raised to Three Hearts, but North's jump to Four Spades ended the auction. West started by leading the two of hearts to East's queen; in view of the menace of dummy's club suit, East decided to attack diamonds.

It was not quite good enough. West, as hoped, turned up with the ace of diamonds and returned the suit, but declarer won with dummy's king and started on clubs. One diamond went away before East was able to ruff the third round, but he was over-ruffed. Dummy was re-entered by trumping a heart, and another club was ruffed and over-ruffed. Now declarer's last losing heart was trumped in dummy; then, when the remaining club winner was led, East had run out of steam.

It was quite a good try - but what was East's afterthought? Suppose he wins the opening lead with the ace, instead of the queen, and returns a trump? West takes his ace and, if he is awake, switches to a low diamond. Put yourself in declarer's position - West has shown up with the ace of trumps and, apparently, the king of hearts, so it seems almost certain that it is East who holds the ace of diamonds.

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