BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
Both defenders congratulated declarer on his play on this deal - a pleasing touch, alas, all too rare - but they had overlooked the fact that they had missed a not too difficult defence that would have deprived South of his chance of brilliance.

It seemed a very routine hand when South opened 1NT and North raised to game. West led the queen of spades against 3NT and East overtook with his ace and returned the suit - "to clarify the position" as he put it.

It proved to be South who was enlightened. After winning with the king of spades, he played off four rounds of clubs. This left West with the problem of finding two discards and he solved it, apparently safely, by parting with his two diamonds - retaining all his winning spades and his guard in hearts. Reading the position well, declarer cashed the ace and king of hearts, then exited from dummy with the ten of spades, West won and could take two more spades but then he had to lead into South's heart tenace. He had lost contact with his partner's ace of diamonds.

East had made a tactical error in playing the ace of spades on the first trick. Suppose he plays low? On the winning clubs, as before, West discards his diamonds but he is still in touch with his partner. When East comes in with his ace of spades, he can cash his ace of diamonds before returning a spade.

LOVE ALL: Dealer South

North

] 10 7 3

_ K 5

+ K J 8 4

[ A Q 9 7

West East

] Q J 9 8 2 ] A 6 5

_ J 9 7 4 _ 8 6 2

+ Q 2 + A 9 6 5

[ 6 2 [ 10 4 3

South

] K 4

_ A Q 10 3

+ 10 7 3

[ K J 8 5

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