BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
In spite of my partner going down in a slam that he could have made, I had to agree that he had played the best percentage line. Never mind, I thought that we bid it well. South opened with a conventional Two Clubs and, as North, I responded Two Diamonds. South bid Two Spades (forcing to game) and I gave the second negative of 2NT. When partner next bid Three Hearts, however, I jumped to Four Spades. Partner next made the intelligent slam try of Five Hearts and, with two honours in spades and the vital third round control in hearts, I accepted the invitation.

West led the ace and another club against Six Spades and it was clear that two hearts had to be ruffed. The ace and king stood up but, on the next heart lead, West ruffed in front of dummy with his nine. Declarer over-ruffed, came to hand with a diamond, and led his last heart: again, West ruffed in, this time with the 10, and was again over-ruffed.

All that remained was to draw trumps and the lead was in dummy for the last time. The eight, four and three of spades were still missing and, when dummy's two brought the three from East, South finessed the five. With a slight smirk, West produced the eight.

Partner had relied on the Principal of Restricted Choice. With an original holding of ]1098, there were three pairs of trumps that West might have chosen to play. With ]109 alone, he would have had only one. Mind you, full credit to West - his choice of the nine followed by the 10 gave a good impression of a player who did not hold the eight.

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