Bridge

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E-W game; dealer South

North

4A Q 4 3

!A Q 10 7

#A K Q

2J 3

West East

4K 9 410 8 7 6

!8 4 !5 2

#J 9 4 3 #10 7 2

2K 10 8 6 5 29 7 4 2

South

4J 5 2

!K J 9 6 3

#8 6 5

2A Q

"I shall have to give up light opening bids," remarked South after going down in 6!. "Or play a bit better," he added. What improvement had he thought of, too late?

South, perhaps unwisely, opened 1!, and it was not surprising that North, despite finding two kings missing, insisted on a slam. West led a trump against 6!, and it was easy to draw trumps in two rounds and eliminate the diamonds. Now for the black suits. The club finesse would be enough by itself, but if it failed, South would need a very favourable position in the spades.The drawback to finessing 4Q first was that if it lost and a club came back, declarer would have to choose between finessing and playing for a 3-3 break in spades.

Hoping to avoid this dilemma, South started with a low spade from dummy. The idea was that if West won with the king there would be time to test the spades with the club finesse in reserve. As the cards lay, West had a safe spade exit after winning with his king; the spades did not behave, and the club finesse was wrong.

Any ideas? Try cashing the 4A before leading low to the jack. As before, there will be time to test both black suits and - the extra edge - this play also wins if either opponent holds the doubleton 4K.

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