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The Independent Culture
ONE OF the old adages, "Play the card that you are known to hold", rarely has any exceptions. On this deal East would have been well advised to have done just that, but he could see absolutely no advantage in so doing. As a result declarer was able to profit in a way which, to be fair, it was difficult to have foreseen.

South opened One Club and North temporised with One Diamond. East joined in with a firm bid of Four hearts and, after two passes, North felt bound to show his club support, albeit at the Five level. This left West with something of a problem but he judged well to pass, for Five Hearts would have cost 500 points. (Yes, all right, 800 if South had made the unlikely start of a diamond or a low club and North had switched to spades.)

West led !3 against Five Clubs and, after winning with his queen, East switched to #K on which West signalled with his jack.

It looked as though there would be two diamonds to lose as well as the heart, but declarer spotted the possibility of finding the diamonds blocked. So he won #K with his ace and immediately finessed 4Q successfully. Then he cashed 4A and ruffed a spade. East, although marked with 4K, could see no point in playing it and followed with 4J. A club to the ace drew trumps and declarer ruffed his last spade. Now, when he got off lead with a diamond, East had to win and concede a ruff and discard.

Can you see what might have happened if 4K had fallen on the third round? Declarer (perhaps playing East for a 3-7-2-1 distribution) might be reluctant to ruff his last spade in dummy in case East was able to discard his blocking #Q! And, if the fourth spade is not ruffed, East has a safe exit with 4J when he is thrown in with #Q.

East-West game; dealer South


46 3


#A 7 4 2

2K J 9 8 6 3

West East

410 8 4 4K J 9 7

!J 9 7 3 2 !A K Q 8 6 4

#J 10 9 8 #K Q

25 22


4A Q 5 2


#6 5 3

2A Q 10 7 4