Bridge

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The Independent Culture
"Seven on a finesse!" explaimed South (an incurable optimist) when he saw dummy on this deal. It did not work out like that, and declarer lost sight of his prime objective - giving himself the best chance of 12 tricks in his small slam.

South opened 24, North responded !H, and South rebid his spades. North next showed his diamonds but, as this need not have been a five-card suit, South bid his spades a third time. Feeling that it would be too much to expect his partner to hold solid spades and two outside aces, North jumped to 64 and all passed.

West led 2K against the slam and declarer made his ill-judged remark. He won with 2A, crossed to #K, and discarded his losing clubs on dummy's top hearts. So far, so good, but when he finessed the queen of trumps, West showed out. Still untroubled, South attempted to reach the table again with a second diamond, but East was unkind enough to ruff. There was now no way to pick up the king of trumps and the slam failed.

Well, how should South have played? Clearly he cannot cope if West holds all the missing trumps, but he can manage comfortably enough against the actual distribution of East holding them all as well as a singleton diamond. At trick two, declarer should cash the ace of trumps. Then he crosses to a diamond, pitches his losing clubs on the top hearts, and (with no need of a second diamond entry to dummy) finesses 47 and loses only one trump trick - to the king.

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