Bridge

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The Independent Culture
The bidding by North-South on this deal was lively to say the least, but their final slam contract was by no means impossible. Declarer, however, missed a not too obvious way to improve his chances.

East opened One Spade and, after two passes, North doubled. East obstructively bid Two Spades. Perhaps overlooking that he was only facing a protective double (which might well have been under normal strength) South tried Three Diamonds; in spite of his partner's free bid, North was surely over the top when he then raised to Six Diamonds.

West led ]5 against the slam and dummy won. Now South started to think - there was room for West to hold the king of trumps in spite of his pass of the opening bid and, in the abstract, a trump finesse was the percentage play in the suit. So he came to hand with the king of clubs, finessed unsuccessfully in trumps, and could not avoid a subsequent heart loser.

So, what was the point that declarer missed? At trick 2 he should have led the king of hearts from dummy. If, not unexpectedly, East had been able to win with the ace everything would depend on the view that South took in trumps. But look what would have happened - it would have been West who won with the ace of hearts! Now, in view of his first round pass, it would be a certainty that East held the king of trumps and, to North- South's delight, it would have fallen under the ace.

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