BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
THERE was a trap in defence to 3NT on this deal and I have the feeling that a lot of players, like West, would have fallen into it.

South opened 1NT (15-17 points) and, after an unsuccessful Stayman enquiry, North raised to game. West led the queen of spades against 2NT and, after holding off on the first round, declarer won the spade continuation. It was natural enough to play on clubs - a low card went to the king, which held, and declarer ducked the second round of the suit completely in the hope that West had started with [A2 alone. No joy, for West won with the jack and cleared the spades.

One possibility now was to hope that the spades broke 4-4 and lead another club but, correctly, South decided to abandon the suit. Instead he cashed +K and finessed +10. East won and, with only red cards left, exited passively with another diamond. Declarer cashed dummy's two diamond winners, throwing two clubs from hand, and watched West's discard with interest. He parted with the three of hearts on the last diamond - surely a useless card? - and kept his winning spades and [A.

Now South came to hand with _A and led another heart. When West showed out, it was easy to play low from the table and leave East on lead at trick 12, compelling him to lead a heart into dummy's king-jack.

Perhaps it was not so easy to foresee but, if West lets a winning spade go on the last diamond, declarer is helpless. He cannot throw East in with a heart without covering the nine with the jack; then East has two natural heart tricks.

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