Bridge

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The Independent Culture
THE PLAY when a 4-3 trump fit has been located is always delicate. East-West showed good technique in defence but South also managed the play well.

North opened #2 (strong but not forcing to game) and South gave the negative reply of !2. With silent opponents, North rebid his diamonds. South now had a close decision: a pass would have escaped criticism, but he showed his values in hearts, hoping to encourage North to try No-trumps. Perhaps placing his partner with a longer heart suit, North raised to !4 and all passed. At least North-South had reached the only feasible game, for neither 3 No-trumps nor #5 would have offered any play.

West led 210 against !4 and, after winning on the table, declarer led a trump to his king which West allowed to hold. !Q also won. It would have been easy for declarer if West had taken either of these but now to play a third round of trumps would have left an opponent on lead with at least three spades.

With no chance against a 4-2 trump break, South realised that his only hope lay in finding East with !7 and West with the ace. Accordingly declarer started on diamonds. On the third round both East and South discarded - it would have done East no good to ruff.

Another diamond followed and both East and South threw clubs. West reluctantly ruffed with his !A, and the defenders now tried three rounds of spades, forcing dummy to trump with !J. But South had no more losers and East could do no damage with his remaining !7. It was an elegant exercise in trump control.

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