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The Independent Culture
FIRST OF all I shall describe how South went down in his spade game on this deal and then invite you to find three other lines of play that would have succeeded.

East opened One Heart, South over-called with One Spade and, after West had passed, North bid Two Hearts - the so-called "unassuming cue-bid". He had a lot in reserve, of course, and when South showed a minimum with Two Spades, he went on to game.

West led !2 against Four Spades and declarer won the second round. He came to hand with a trump and led a diamond to the king and ace. East returned a trump and, after ruffing his third heart, South played off two more rounds of trumps, then looked for a second trick in diamonds by leading low to the queen and ruffing #7. The jack did not fall and that left South a trick short.

And the more successful lines? (1) Finessing #10 instead of trying to ruff out the jack. The finesse loses, but #Q,7 now provides two club discards when the nine falls. (2) Play #Q on the second round of the suit, but follow with #10 to pin West's now bare nine. (3)

Perhaps the most elegant - on winning East's trump return, cash #Q, ruff a diamond, ruff a heart, cash 2A, and ruff the last diamond.

This leaves dummy with 4J 2J,5 and declarer with 4Q 27,6 and now, however the defenders manage the suit, an exit with a low club gives South two of the last three tricks.

East-West game; dealer East


4J 10 7 4

!A 7

#K Q 10 7

2A J 5

West East

48 5 49 2

!10 6 2 !K Q J 4 3

#9 8 6 #A J 4 3

2Q 10 9 8 4 2K 2


4A K Q 6 3

!9 8 5

#5 2

27 6 3