BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
There is a great deal to be said for the direct approach at this game. Consider the North hand after your partner has opened One Diamond - a simple limit bid of Two No-trumps will be raised to game by South and at least 10 tricks are easy.

In practice North was unnecessarily worried about his lack of a guard in clubs and raised to Three Diamonds. Probing for No-trumps, but worried about the hearts, South tried Three Spades - but now, even more apprehensive about his club weakness, North could not oblige. The result was a final contract of Five Diamonds, against which West led the two of hearts.

Dummy's jack lost to the ace and a heart came back, forcing South to ruff. As he put it afterwards: "There was very nearly a squeeze!" - but it did not quite work, and he ended by losing two club tricks to go one off.

Can you see a neat way for South to have improved his chances? Try the six of hearts from dummy at trick 1, instead of the jack. This puts East under a lot of pressure - it could so easily be wrong for him to try the eight of hearts and he would have been almost sure to have gone in with his ace. Now, if he returns a heart, declarer discards one of his losing diamonds (a loser on loser play) and his other losing diamond goes away later on the queen of hearts.

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