Bridge

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The Independent Culture
BIDDING FOLLOWED the same route at both tables on this deal from match play. At favourable vulnerability West opened Three Diamonds, North doubled for take-out, and South jumped to Six Spades.

West led 28 against the slam and declarer inspected only 11 top tricks for, surely, the diamond finesse was wrong. One declarer decided that an elimination play was his best bet. After winning on the table, he drew trumps, cashed !A and !K and ruffed a heart, played off his #A and followed with two more rounds of clubs. This left East on lead and, if he had started with only one diamond, he would now have been reduced to conceding a ruff and discard on which South's losing diamond would go away.

This plan would have worked splendidly if West had started with the traditional seven-card suit for his pre-empt. Unfortunately, he held only six and East was able to return the suit safely.

Unlucky, I suppose, but the other South player found a better and more successful line. After the same club lead, he won, and drew trumps. Rather than gamble on West's diamond length, he decided to play for a squeeze. As the timing was wrong for this to work, he started by finessing #Q although he was convinced this would lose. It did, and West exited with a heart, but it was no good. Declarer won with the king, cashed #A and the other top club, and ran the rest of his trumps. At the end West had to keep #J in front of dummy's ten and East had to retain a top club. Neither could guard the hearts and North's three became declarer's 12th trick.

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