BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
It is always a problem when you have to play a suit of Qxx facing Jxx and hope to avoid three losers. Sometimes your opponents help by leading the suit - but not always.

South opened One Spade, West overcalled with Two Hearts, and North cue- bid Three Hearts. East raised to Four Hearts and, after two passes North bid Four Spades. When this came round to West, he contested with Five Hearts (which would have been cheap) but gave up when North went on to Five Spades.

West led the king of hearts and, after winning and drawing the trump, it was not difficult for declarer to eliminate both of the red suits. This left him with ample trumps in both hands, but [J76 facing [Q54. He reasoned that, as West had not led a top club initially, he did not hold both the ace and king. If, however, the missing honours were divided it would be necessary to find an opponent with either [Ax or [Kx.

Playing East for the shorter clubs, declarer led low from dummy towards his queen but this lost to the king and the defenders had two more club tricks to come.

There was a neat idea that would have worked as the cards lie. By all means lead low from dummy but, when East plays low, declarer should do the same! West wins cheaply and cashes his king but now has to concede a ruff and discard.

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