BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
Nobody left their bidding boots at home on this deal. East started the ball rolling with a pre-emptive call of Four Clubs, South joined in with Four Spades, and North tried Five Diamonds. Yes, there was some ambiguity about this call - was it a suit? Or was it a cue-bid agreeing spades?

In either case, Six Clubs by South seemed to do no harm and North jumped to Seven Spades - solving South's problems, for at least there was no more bidding to be done!

West led the 10 of clubs against Seven Spades and declarer considered his problem. Obviously a diamond finesse was one possibility, but was there anything bet- ter? Certainly there was no rush and, after entering dummy with a top trump, declarer ruffed a club in hand, drew the remaining trumps, and cashed the three top hearts. Indeed, the prospects of the diamond finesse succeeding were poor, but look what had happened! East had shown up with seven clubs, no spades, and two hearts, and therefore held four diamonds.

The problem was solved. South played off some more trumps to leave himself with ]2 +J97 while keeping +AK [J7 on the table. And that left East struggling for a discard from +Q85 [AK. If he threw a top club the jack could be established with a ruff; if he parted with a diamond, South's jack would become a winner. Very neat!

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