Bridge

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The Independent Culture
Recriminations between East and West flowed on this hand. The defence had started efficiently enough, but later lost its way.

Against Four Hearts, West led the king of spades, then switched to the five of clubs, an obvious singleton, which was taken in dummy, declarer dropping the seven from hand, hoping to disguise the position from East.

He now played a heart to dummy's ace but when East showed out on the trump continuation, South realised he was in danger of losing two spades, a trump and a ruff. Declarer took his king of hearts but appreciated that if he played another trump to the queen, West would put his partner in with the ace of spades and then get his club ruff.

The only legitimate chance left was that West held both the queen and jack of diamonds and could be forced to win the third round. Accordingly he played a diamond to dummy's ace, cashed the king, discarding a spade and followed with the eight of diamonds. East, not appreciating the position, played low. Declarer threw his last spade and West was forced to win with the jack. He played a spade, but it was all too late. South ruffed, led his jack of hearts to West's queen, trumped the spade return and drew the last trump.

West was the first to accuse, "Why didn't you play your queen on the third diamond? Now declarer can't throw his last spade and must ruff, and I'll still get my club ruff to defeat the contract when I come in with my queen of trumps and put you in with your spade ace."

But East had the last word. "If you'd discarded your jack of diamonds under dummy's king, I couldn't have gone wrong."

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