Bridge

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The Independent Culture
A SLIGHT but excusable error in timing led to South's defeat in his game contract on this deal.

South opened One Spade, North dredged up a 1NT response, and South had an acute rebid problem. He solved it by jumping to Four Spades and hoping for the best. West twitched, almost imperceptibly, but passed and led the three of diamonds. Declarer found this difficult to read. It could be a singleton or a doubleton, it could be from a suit headed by the king. He tried the queen from dummy and in case the lead had been a singleton, won East's king with his ace.

The contract depended on not losing more than two trump tricks; prospects brightened when, after crossing to the king of clubs and leading dummy's trump, the jack appeared, South's queen losing to the king. West exited with his queen of clubs and, after winning, South led the six of trumps. By now West knew the position; he won and led the four of diamonds to give his partner the lead.

Now East knew what was happening in diamonds - the lead had been MUD (Middle-Up-Down) - and, on winning with the 10 of diamonds, he led another club. Then nothing could prevent West scoring the setting trick with his five trumps.

It was difficult; but the winning play would have been to let East's king of diamonds win at trick 1. Then West can't give his partner the lead for the trump promotion.

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