BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
It used to be fashionable, with four spades and five hearts but short of reversing values, to open One Spade and rebid in hearts so as to show both suits. There were obvious drawbacks to this approach; this deal illustrates one of them. After South had bid in this fashion, North (hardly surprisingly) placed him with longer spades; the final contract was a dubious Six Spades against which West led the king of diamonds.

Declarer was faced with apparent losers in both minor suits. However, he spotted the possibility of discarding dummy's diamonds on his heart suit.

He won the lead with dummy's ace, released the ace of hearts, and drew just two rounds of trumps, ending in hand. He followed with three more rounds of hearts, discarding diamonds from dummy. All would have been well if the defender with four hearts had held precisely four trumps as well. Then South would have been able to ruff his last diamond on the table and return to the ace of clubs to draw trumps. As it was, East ruffed the fourth heart and the defenders later came to a club trick.

The distribution that South played for was long odds against. A better shot would have been simply to rely on a 3-3 trump break and play on reverse dummy lines. Duck the opening lead and play to ruff two diamonds in hand before drawing trumps. Then declarer makes five heart tricks, five tricks from trumps, and the two minor suit aces.

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