Bridge

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The Independent Culture
THIS week's deal, from the recent Philip Morris European Mixed Championships in Barcelona, was one of many parts. A British team, facing an Italian one, achieved an odd result - going down in a makeable doubled slam, yet gaining handsomely on the board.

South opened One Club (playing a strong club system). West pre-empted with Four Spades, and North doubled. Unwilling to settle for a penalty, South bid Five Spades, requiring North to pick a slam. Perhaps Four No-trumps, emphasising the minor suits, might have been better. With an unenviable choice, North bid Six Clubs and, after two passes, West doubled - a Lightner double, suggesting a diamond lead.

Indeed, a diamond lead from East would certainly have defeated the slam, but there was a hitch. West had forgotten that South had opened a conventional club and as a result East would not be on lead]

Reluctantly West led a spade and saw his partner's ace ruffed. Declarer crossed to the ace of clubs but mis- guessed by playing the king on the second round of trumps. Now the slam had to fail.

If declarer tries the eight of clubs instead of the king, five rounds of diamonds allow two of dummy's hearts to be discarded. The ace of hearts and a heart ruff leave the lead in dummy, and a spade lead allows South two more trump tricks.

There was a happy ending. At the other table South passed the double of Four Spades. Using the ace of spades as an entry to lead a heart towards the king and finding the adverse hearts divided 3-3, West made his doubled contract.

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