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The Independent Culture
DECLARER read the position well on this freakish deal from a recent rubber but it occurred to me later (much later!) that my partner had missed a difficult chance in defence. As East I opened Four Spades and South overcalled with Five Diamonds. North had no difficulty in raising to the small slam and West led ]9 against Six Diamonds. "I would have passed if you'd found a double instead of overcalling!" quipped North as he displayed dummy. (He'd have been in for a disappointment.)

There were only 10 top tricks, and although it was possible to play me for [K, declarer decided to place West with both _K and [K. He ruffed the lead, crossed to +A and ruffed a spade high. Then came +K another spade ruff, and South followed with four more rounds of trumps. West, under pressure, came down to _KJ [KJ8, and dummy to _Q63 [A7. Next declarer led _A and West dropped his king to avoid an immediate throw-in.

It was not quite good enough, for declarer continued with _7 and, when West produced the jack, allowed him to hold the trick. With only clubs left, West was now forced to give South his 12th trick.

Can you see what West missed? Sup-pose he parts with _J early on and retains a low heart instead? Then, whatever declarer tries, he can avoid the end-play. Yes, I would have had to retain my valuable _1095 to prevent dummy's six scoring.

EAST-WEST GAME: dealer East


] Q 8 4 2

_ Q 6 3

+ A K

[ A 7 4 2

West East

] 9 3 ] A K J 10 7 6 5

_ K J 8 4 2 _ 10 9 5

+ 8 3 2 + none

[ K J 8 [ 10 9 6


] none

_ A 7

+ Q J 10 9 7 6 5 4

[ Q 5 3