Bridge

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E-W game; dealer South

North

4K 7 4

!A Q 3 2

#A 3 2

2K Q J

West East

46 3 4A

!K 10 9 8 !J 7 6 4

#8 4 #K Q 10 9 6

28 7 5 4 2 2A 10 6

South

4Q J 10 9 8 5 2

!5

#J 7 5

29 3

Perhaps it is not too late to review "Defensive Skills for You" by Andrew Kambites from the Master Bridge series (Gollancz, pounds 11.99) which, though sometimes elementary (no bad thing!) struck me as very practical. So here you are in defence as East.

South opens 34 and North raises to game. I must confess that as East at this point I would have been strongly tempted to take action. The trouble is, of course, that North's raise may have been purely pre-emptive and that East-West may have a vulnerable game available.

In real life, East decided to believe his opponents and cautiously, but wisely, passed. The defence against 44 started with #8 and East was allowed to win with his queen. How should he continue?

The only possible plan, after looking at dummy, is to give partner a diamond ruff. But a low diamond will allow declarer to win with his jack and the blatant danger of a ruff will persuade him to take a heart finesse to discard his third diamond before starting on trumps.

While it is true, in the modern style of pre-empting, there may be two trump losers for declarer, the best return at trick two is #K. Now, locked in dummy, there is no scope for a heart finesse and the defenders can come to their diamond ruff, no matter how good declarer's trumps are.

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