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East-West game; dealer West


4Q 7 2

!K J 8 5

#K J 4

27 4 3

West East

4A K 6 5 4 4J 10 9 8 3

!10 !7

#9 8 6 #Q 10 5 3

2A J 9 8 2Q 10 5



!A Q 9 6 4 3 2

#A 7 2

2K 6 2

SACRIFICING WHEN you are vulnerable against a non-vulnerable opponents is always a delicate affair. On this deal from match play, West thought that he had judged matters perfectly, but he was in for a disappointment when he met his team-mates at half-time.

At both tables the bidding started with One Spade by West, a raise to Two by East, and an intervention of Three Hearts by South. West passed, North raised to game and, while one West was content to defend, his counterpart went on to Four Spades, doubled by North. Well, the club finesse was right and there were only two diamond losers, but the 3-0 trump break was annoying and West conceded 200 points.

At the other table, where Four hearts was passed out, West started with 4K. Declarer saw matters in a simple light: he ruffed, drew trumps, and tried the diamond finesse. When this failed there was still the faint hope that 2A was right, but it was not to be and he ended by losing four tricks.

The first West's enterprise would have been rewarded if his colleague had spotted the 100 per cent play to make Four hearts (assuming that West held 4A as well as 4K). I hope that you would have got there.

Try this approach: do not ruff 4K but discard a diamond. Say West switches to a trump. Declarer wins in dummy, ruffs 47, then plays three rounds of diamonds, ruffing in hand. He crosses to dummy with a trump and leads 4Q, discarding a club from hand. This leaves West on lead with the choice of conceding a ruff and discard or leading a club. In either case, declarer loses only three tricks in all.