BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
DECLARER played a neat, but not obvious, false card on this deal and, as a result, set the defenders a problem that they were unable to solve. Would your partnership have got it right?

South opened One Heart, West doubled, and North raised to Two Hearts. East showed his clubs but South's jump to game ended the auction. West led the queen of spades against Four Hearts; East took his ace (South following with the seven) and returned the six to the king. South drew trumps in two rounds and followed with the king of diamonds to West's ace.

It was clear that the defence had to take two tricks quickly but the ace of clubs saw East play an obviously encouraging ten and South the jack. Now West had a problem - should he try to cash a second club or the jack of spades? Now you can see the point of declarer's play of S7 at trick 1 - East could equally well have started with S A6 or S A62, whereas if South had originally followed with the two, it would be clear that East would not have returned the six from S A76.

West got it wrong and led another club. East could have helped if his partnership had the following arrangement - in "cash-out" situations like this, the parity of the encouraging card can be used to convey the length as well. So the ten would suggest an even number of cards in the suit and the equally encouraging nine an odd.

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