BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
THIS week's deal is a good example of high quality bridge - good bidding, the right opening lead and subsequent defence, but declarer having the last word. Real life at the table is rarely like that!

South opened One Heart and North responded Four Diamonds - a splinter showing a good raise to game in hearts with a diamond shortage. In spite of his near-minimum opening, South judged well to go on past game and the final contract was Six Hearts.

West found the best lead of his singleton trump. On any other lead it would have been easy for declarer to ruff three of his losing diamonds on the table. South won in hand and set West a problem when he returned the queen of diamonds. If West had won, he would have had no more trumps to lead. Reasoning that if South had held both the king and queen of diamonds he would have taken the opening lead on the table in order to lead diamonds, West played low. East won with his king and could lead a second trump.

Now South had to switch plans. After winning, he played off the king and ace of clubs and trumped a club in hand. Then came a diamond ruff and another club ruff. One more diamond was ruffed with dummy's last trump, the South hand re-entered with the ace of spades, and the last trump drawn. Dummy had the last two tricks with the king of spades and the long club.

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