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The Independent Culture
THE POST-MORTEM after this deal (on which South had failed in his attempt to make a slam) was heated. Both players claimed their partner had done too much bidding, but North attempted to justify his activities by asserting that South should have made his contract anyhow.

South opened One Club, North responded One Heart, South rebid One Spade and North's raise to Four Spades came in for criticism ("Three Spades would have been quite enough!"). Now South moved on to the spade slam ("An obvious pass of Four Spades!").

West led !9 against Six Spades and dummy's queen held the trick. Declarer saw matters in a simple light - he drew trumps in three rounds, ending in dummy, and ran !J. The finesse worked all right, but the 4-1 break in the suit finished South's chances - his line of play effectively needed the suit to break 3-2 with the king right.

Well, you are the judge - what do you think of the assorted claims and counter-claims? When consulted, I diplomatically agreed that perhaps they had both been both over-enthusiastic (so avoiding any life-long enmities).

On the question of the play, however, dummy was on firmer ground. If the hearts were indeed 3-2, then there was no need to draw a third round of trumps after cashing the ace and queen. The heart finesse wins but, when West shows out, he has no trumps left. South now changes horses - he plays off 2A and ruffs a club in dummy, returns to hand with #A, and ruffs another club with dummy's last rump. He follows with a heart to the ace, draws the remaining trump, and gives up a club to West's king, leaving himself with the last trump and a winning club. Of course, if West had followed to the second round of hearts, declarer could comfortably have drawn the last trump immediately.

Game all; dealer South


4A Q 10 5

!Q J 10 8 3

#Q 5 4


West East

48 3 4J 7 2

!9 !K 7 6 5

#J 8 7 6 3 2 #K 10 9

2K 9 7 2 2Q 5 3


4K 9 6 4

!A 4 2


2A J 10 6 4